Sometimes you just have a feeling about a movie. At times you know if it will kick ass and other times you can smell the rot as the opening scene rolls. Being a fan of the “all or nothing” attitude I can appreciate the former option. What kills me is middle of the road ho-hum blah that seems to be every third horror movie. Detention of the Dead went for the obvious with the title, but will it also have me feeling trapped in Crapville? Let’s dig in for a closer look.
The quickest way to explain the story is The Breakfast Club meets Shaun of the Dead. We have a goofy group of kids barricaded in a library as their undead classmates run about seeking victims.
This movie wastes no time trying to develop these lifeless stereotypes. We see an infection spreading in a school and it’s on. If you are going to use stereotypical kids (stoner, geek, jock, goth, nerd, etc.) please don’t waste time story building. Thankfully, the effects here are practical and the makeup actually looked really good. Someone got through to these guys and CGI took the day off.
With all the comparisons to both aforementioned movies you better bring it and in a big way. The Breakfast Club is a classic that set up a lot of the groundwork for high school stereotypes. D.O.T.D took these stereotypes and did the same things we have seen a million times before. So the Jock is with the Cheerleader and the Nerd wants to be with her too? Come on, it’s way overdone.
Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite zombie flicks of all time. The humor is ultra fresh and the actors are hilarious. This movie tried and there were a few funny bits but it’s more dick and fart joke funny. The scene with the guys trying to remove a zombie’s grip from a nether region comes to mind. Bottom line, you ain’t no Shaun of the Dead. Let’s keep rolling.
I understand that kids just plain look older now-a-days but there is a certain point where I call bullsh*t and it happened right away. Every single one of these actors looked a bit aged for high school. The freaking Nerd looked more 30 than 18.
The obvious age issue is one thing and the acting ability is another. Most of the acting and themes around it were wooden and ultra clichéd. At one point I kinda felt bad for a few of these folks but hey, gotta make a buck somehow!!
I love horror movies and live for nods to the greats, the more subtle the better. I picked up on a few early on that were pretty obvious, like Savini Library. After a while annoyance set in because it seemed like these were being used to legitimize the work to a horror buff. I am not going to spoil these to anyone but there are so many that even the weakest horror lover will score a nod or two. To me it was overkill.
If you are going for ridiculous then let it fly! This one had a hard time hitting a stride as either a legit horror movie or a comedy teetering on romantic. The writing was clichéd and we know that. The attempt to be dark at some points was as foolish as the attempted romance. I am not going to even touch on the scene with the “we each explain our road to detention”, *barf* cliché….
This is a case where I should have followed my gut. The title screamed it and the DVD cover cemented it: cliché. What’s the old saying? If it smells like sh*t and looks like sh*t, it’s probably going to be up for an Oscar? No wait, it’s probably sh*t. Outside of the practical effects and solid makeup there is nothing more to see here. Feel free to move on.
Take a Sip: anytime one of the characters/situations causes your eyes to roll.
Take a Drink: if someone onscreen makes you feel young.
Pound a Shot: when you catch a nod to some horror flick (you’ll be puking before this one ends).