Published on April 12th, 2012 | by dvdpinson0
Detention Lives and Bleeds Teen Flicks from the 80′s and 90′s
The ultimate pop culture in-joke that lives and bleeds teen flicks from the eighties and nineties. There’s even a “Just One of the Guys” quote in there if you listen closely. And while this whirlwind of a horror/sci-fi/comedy is a blast if you speak the language, something gets forgotten as the movie speeds along. “Detention” never decides what it wants to be or gives us a line of dialogue to call its own that the next generation can riff on. This Hipster Horror is almost all homage.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty for the new generation of Horror geek to chew and spew over.
There is someone running around Grizzly Lake High killing students. (As seen in “Scream”) Not only is the murder axing her victims, she’s doing it while dressed as a movie monster named Cinderhella (As seen in “Scream 2”). Cinderhella ties her prey to chairs and lets killing devices that are strapped to poor prom queen’s heads do the dirty work (As seen in “Saw” Part One through Whatever).
Our hero is Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell who, according to IMDB has a Snow White project on the way. Seems that every starlet must have one these days) who has inappropriate feelings for cool kid Clapton (Josh Hutcherson) who is dating out-of –his-league pretty girl Ione (Spencer Locke) (As seen in “Some Kind of Wonderful”).
Out of frustration, the creepy principal, played with vigor by Dane Cook, puts our love triangle in detention (?) along with various other suspects who may or may not be the one behind the Cinderhella façade (As sorta seen in “The Breakfast Club”). Then the plot loses its mind and a time/space traveling bear becomes very important to the future (and past) of the children of Grizzly Lake.
First time director Joseph Kahn comes from the world of video directing and his break neck pacing makes this more than obvious. While the “Scream” and John Hughes influence is obvious, “Detention” is most reminiscent of the bizarre films that Gregg Araki made in the nineties, especially “The Doom Generation” and “Nowhere”. Kahn also holds a heavy debt to “Donnie Darko”.
This is ADD theater that is aimed, laser beam focused, on the post MTV generation that is used to communicating via three symbol text messages that convey complex thought.
The only thing going against “Detention” when it comes to morphing into a cult classic is that the entire thing feels it WANTS to be a cult classic and that can backfire. I found it worthy though and the hope is that “Detention” finds an audience. Preferably an audience that doesn’t have to be on Peyote to fully appreciate it but that may be asking too much.
Now since “Detention” is all homage, I would like to make my own reference to the 80s and end this review in the style of one of the masters: Mr. Joe Bob Briggs.
Outstanding kiddie carving. One breast. 12 dead bodies. 16 gallons blood. One time-traveling bear. Two decapitations. One arm decapitation. One High School Inferno. Gratuitous “Donnie Darko” reference. Gratuitous Space Aliens. One prom queen slasher flick-within-a-flick murderer. A Ron Jeremy cameo. A smart Asian Kid cameo. A Goth Indian Kid cameo. A filibustering Canadian Kid. A Drive-In Academy Award nomination to the kid from “Hunger Games” for slumming it.