Detention (DVD review).

A fast-talking, fast-action comedy horror for teen-agers, the movie is set in a grossly dysfunctional American high school called Grizzly Lake. In fact, a grizzly bear plays a large part in the proceedings. Guess what, he’s really a time machine! This could give you a clue to the nature of the movie but, on top of all that, we’ve got a murdering Cinderella to cope with. Yes, it’s all happening at Grizzly Lake High School.

Sony Pictures acquired the rights to ‘Detention’ not so long ago and no doubt they will make money from this venture. It’s a professionally produced movie with good scenes and characterisation. The pace is furious from start to finish with plenty happening, so much so that you could easily miss some of the jokes if you turn away from the TV for a few seconds. This is just what older teen-agers are looking for!

It all starts rather grossly when a right little madam of a girl, selfish and rude to the extreme, has her throat slit and is chucked out the window to land on top of her mother’s car waiting outside. The perpetrator of this act is a fiend with a grotesque mask in the style of Cinderella, a slasher horror movie going about at the time. No doubt Cinderella will appear again!

Okay, we’ve got a maniac murderer but there is also time travel, dimensional shifts, flying saucers, personality swaps and a whole lot else going on at Grizzly Lake. Riley Jones doesn’t seem to have a lot going for her, especially with one leg in a metal brace and a teacher thinking she is pregnant. Incidentally, the teachers are a weird bunch! Maybe you wouldn’t want them in your school! When Riley, played by Shanley Caswell, tries to hang herself, she is assaulted by Cinderella. She’s also part of a triangle involving her best friend, Ione, (Spencer Locke), with Clapton Davis played by Joss Hutcherson.

Despite this movie being set in 2011, strangely a lot of the action goes back to 1992. To say there are weird happenings would be an understatement. Ione does a body swap with her mother and goes back to 1992. She seems to be surprised when her mobile phone doesn’t work. There is another horrible murder in the style of Cinderella, Riley escapes a further slashing attack and they all end up in detention, incarcerated by the headteacher in the hope that the identity of Cinderella will emerge.

Strange things happen in detention. The scene where they drifted back in time to 1992 was very good and expertly presented. There was someone who had been at his desk for all this length of time, occupying himself by carving equations on its surface. Also, back in 1992, it transpired that a nerd, peeved by the rejection of his amorous advances, creates a bomb that will destroy the earth. Well, there’s lots more but, if that’s not enough, heaven help you!

Being a miserable old person, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to assimilate with a teen-age movie but it was oddly compelling. I also give it to a friend’s grandson, 17 years old, and he thought it was marvellous. He could understand the jokes and action a lot better than I could. When you watch this, you’ve got to move into another dimension, suspend belief and take it for what it is. Most of all, by playing parodies of other movies which included ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘House Party’ amongst many others, it provided familiar identity links. Plenty of music, jokes, amusing diversions, scary moments and hilarious hits, ‘Detention’ has got it all.

Other material on the disc included an interesting featurette on the making of the movie with interviews from cast members, plus lots of trivia information. On release at the end of August, this DVD will probably be quite successful and I would certainly recommend it for anyone from teen-age years and beyond.

As a former teacher, ‘Detention’ was a complete nightmare for me, not just because of the kids and the slasher maniac Cinderella, but because of the other teachers. None of them were normal and the thought of someone making up a bomb to destroy the Earth took experimentation a little too far. For 90 minutes you can forget everything else and watch ‘Detention’!

Rod MacDonald

August 2012


(region 2 DVD: Pub: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment B007V2WHH4. 89 minute film with extras. Price: £12.99 (UK))

cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Spencer Locke and Shanley Caswell

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