A copycat killer of the teen slasher film Cinderhella is on the loose wreaking havoc amongst the student body at a local high school in Grizzly Lake. Will the clan of misfits be able to put aside their differences to thwart their untimely, ultimate demise? Or will the vulnerable co-eds be eternally condemned to Detention?
Directed by: Joseph Kahn
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Spencer Locke, Shanley Caswell
Joseph Kahn’s cinematic effort is quite easily within the top ten most bizarre movies I’d ever seen. It’s unclear at this time if an over the top theme is precisely what this director was aiming for, but if this is indeed the case- he’s succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination.
There’s no easy or tidy classification for Detention. At times it’s merely a campy, T&A, Slasher flick. At other moments there’s some sound dramatic performances invested. Still, just when you least expect it there is copious amounts of satire unleashed poking fun of just about everything under the sun. Trust me nothing is left sacred in Detention.
Topics openly ribbed, butchered and slaughtered include the campy B movies of the slasher genre, sociological cliques within high schools aka The Breakfast Club, Freaky Friday, teen angst, teenage alcoholism and drugs, campy sci-fi time travel films, while Kahn even makes fun of video piracy in a slant that is guaranteed to provoke a hearty chuckle. Virtually every scene and quote is a reference or another to some form of pop culture phenomenon past or present. It’s dizzying and disorienting at times. I’d be hard pressed to find anyone that isn’t willing to watch it at least twice to pick up and absorb all of the content.
There’s some most notable cinematography as our story is presented in glossy high definition splendor. The slow motion resolution when Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell) is on the run from the serial killer. An adjacent back yard is occupied by a snarling pit bull that leaps into defensive action snapping jaws and all. We can’t help but cringe as Riley’s pretty face narrowly escapes certain disfigurement. There are also some rapid, choppy pan shots that will rock your equilibrium especially in the final act of the detention scenes. Khan is on the money with maximizing his resources in terms of visual story telling fan fare. We feel what the protagonists are feeling. Really isn’t that the ultimate goal of any director?
Some tremendous special effects are offered during the time travel sequences. It’s comical to watch Riley and Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson) nestled up inside a hollowed out statue of the school mascot. As holographic shapes and neon, illumination swirls around our peripheral; we cannot help but be bedazzled, enchanted and fixated on seeing what happens next.
The musical score and sound effects are more for comical intent rather than contribute to any serious foreboding or dreadful atmospheric conditions. Perhaps most notable is the repeated references to the ninety’s pop group Hanson and their dramatically irritating Doo-Wop song. It’s grossly out of context yet for some strange reason seems to work here.
There isn’t a whole lot of blood and gore but the death scenes are effective. Inside the movie theatre where Cinderhella antagonizes her victim, it’s an obvious jab at the mislabeled ‘torture p*rn’ series of Saw or Hostel. It’s gruesome, over the top and it’s comical to see characters in the theatre glued to the concept.
For a considerable portion of the movie there is an onslaught of text riddling the screen with incoherent, seemingly irrelevant gibberish. It’s infuriatingly annoying, yet at the same time it’s pretty evident that is the sole intent.
It may not be for everyone but Detention is worth a look. Seeing Dane Cook in the role of washed up Grizzly Lake high school principal is worth the price of admission alone. There’s some brief gratuitous nudity but nothing to really traumatize one into therapy. For gore, sexual innuendo and teen drug use Detention was given an R rating.
Detention (2011) is now available on bluray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Three out of five tombstones.