Detention - DVD Review

'the director treats us to his own name written in sick in a urinal and flashes of self-reference like the message 'The movie Detention is against drink driving, even if you are suicidal''

As the meta-ness of the slasher genre disappears further down its own rabbit hole, Joseph Kahn's incredibly 'hip' and 'with it' Detention arrives to attempt to pastiche Scream whilst cramming in elements of Donnie Darko and Freaky Friday. That Kahn has even looked at Scream and considered that it needed an uber-hip, self-aware, Mean Girls-esque spearing means that someone, somewhere has seriously mis-read Scream but, nevertheless, there is fun here to be found, in amongst the occasionally annoying stylisation and misfiring references.

If you're turned off by the fourth wall breaking of incalculably annoying opening-scene narrator, Taylor Fisher ('Beauty Intelligence Talent Charisma Hoobastank... what, they're good') (Alison Woods) then don't be too concerned: she is inevitably not here for long. Stalking the streets and school halls of Grizzly Lake is Cinderhella, a copycat killer aping the fictional movie of the same name. Only neon-wearing, skateboard-surfing 90s hipster Clapton (Josh Hutcherson) and the school's unluckiest girl Riley (Shanley Caswell) can stop him/her.

In a blissfully quick ninety-three minutes, Kahn tries pretty much everything to show you his film knows what's going on in the heads of teens / the Horror and Sci-Fi films of the eighties and nineties. A hoodie-wearing guy no-one really sees pops up later on, but before then the director treats us to his own name written in sick in a urinal and flashes of self-reference like the message 'The movie Detention is against drink driving, even if you are suicidal'. These would be easier to take if they actually had any import. The aforementioned drink driving message is a throwaway gag after the suicidal Riley's father refuses to take her to school because he has drank the night before. Is that really worth spending 'cool' points on? Probably not, but Kahn tries any way.

I've recently finished watching Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the pace here did remind me of that, in a very attractive way. Kahn and fellow screenwriter Mark Palermo fire gags and dialogue in at pace whilst the editing crashes around with the patience of a headless chicken on crack trying desperately to find new roads to cross. Occasionally it's calamitous (a sub-plot with Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley) makes no sense and tries one Sci-Fi reference too many) but often it's joyous.

It is, without doubt, too hip for its own good and it also forgets all about generating any genuine Horror very early on, but when it fires Detention can be very satisfying and rather this genuine, full frontal attempt than Harmony Korine's fake neon convictions.





By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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