Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
In a little town called Grizzly Lake, a copycat killer has taken up the gimmick of a slasher called CinderHella and is wiping out disposable teens one by one. Nerdy Shane and lazy Clapton have to stop things before they get worse. There's more though, I kid you not- aliens, the end of the world and bears that can jump through time periods also play a part.
Is it good movie?
Do you LOVE self-aware, wink-wink horror that considers itself "meta"
(I hate that word)? Well, you'd better love it if you plan to watch
Detention. It's not at all played for chills (like Scream was once),
nor is it truly an homage (like the beautiful Cabin in the Woods), but
instead it's a fourth wall shattering comedy that will grind on your
nerves pretty quickly as it tries to show you how cool it is.
This movie is a horror-comedy with ADD that doesn't let up and slams
things together with reckless abandon. It's all over the place and
barely stops. Unfortunately though, it doesn't really stop to notice
that it isn't particularly clever or funny and doesn't really send
anything up very well. It's just not very funny and feels sort of mean
Here's just a sample of the stuff you're going to see- you get the
slasher subplot, you get a jerk kid who gets infected by a meteor that
crashed to earth, a time machine that is populated with grizzlies, a
body switch between Mom and daughter, and one poor individual who
turned out to be locked away in detention for almost 20 years.
If nothing else, I can certainly say that director Joseph Kahn is
working his ass off to try to get your attention. He is throwing
everything possible in your face and does so with a wacky and kinetic
visual style. There's certainly no shortage of graphics and effects,
despite the movie having a low budget. It's just so scattered and
awkward that it ends up falling on its face trying to show you how cool
it is (and I might not be the target audience- they rip on internet
critics a few times).
It is kind of cool to see Josh Hutcherson getting out of the
family-friendly zone, and he and partner Shanley Caswell do a fairly
decent job with what's given. Ironically enough, Dane Cook turns in a
devent performance as the school principal. By "decent", of course, I
mean that he doesn't ham it up like you'd expect him to. I don't care
much for the guy's standup, but his low-key performances are welcome in
At the end of the day, Detention is watchable without question and
infused with a healthy dose of visual creativity. The downside is that
it's a real headgame to get through, and I have a hard time thinking
anyone over the age of 13 would watch it and think it was awesome. It's
jam packed with stupid characters, endless pop culture references and
silly sideplots. I guess if you love your movies to be wayyyy out there
and frantic-nonstop, check into detention.