Detention Movie Review
Directed by Joseph Khan
Written by Joseph Khan and Mark Palermo
2011, 89 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 27th August 2012
Josh Hutcherson as Clapton Davis
Dane Cook as Principal Verge
Shanley Caswell as Riley Jones
Spencer Locke as Ione
Parker Bagley as Billy Nolan
Walter Perez as Elliot Fink
Even though it’s been a few weeks now since I first sat down to watch what was for me, the highly anticipated movie Detention, my eyes are still burning from the awesome that came out of the screen.
Detention was screened as part of the Toronto After Dark summer screenings and I’d been waiting impatiently to see it since the trailer made the rounds over a year previously, but the film had not materialised. The trailer looked like a blend of The Breakfast Club meets Scream, a promising combination but that doesn’t even begin to cover what this film is all about. Detention is so other-worldly that it is unlike anything I’ve seen before, this certainly isn’t just another teen slasher flick. Actually, it’s really rather hard to put into words what it is.
If you want a basic storyline then I shall try my best. We follow Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell), an incredibly awkward and socially outcast teen who not only has to deal with the misery of growing up in this technology mad modern world, but also has to deal with a serial killer who is on the loose. The killer has already picked off the most popular girl in the school and now seems intent on killing Riley off next, not that anyone believes her. We also have Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson), good friends with Riley who she has secret feelings for, but he is currently dating Ione (Spencer Locke), frenemy of Riley. As if it couldn’t get more confusing, Ione is dating the high school dumb jock, Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley), who now wants to beat up Clapton. Added to this is the fact that the principal (Dane Cook) wants to make Clapton’s life miserable, and you will start to see the path of this crazy intertwined teen mess. There’s also a time travelling bear in the mix.
Nothing will prepare you for this film. It may sound simple enough, but this movie gets so meta your brain begins to hurt. Although I instantly felt the need to watch it again because I was overwhelmed by everything that had happened, I am under absolutely no illusion that this is one film that will rub people up the wrong way. But really, the film’s flaws are what make it so spectacular, there is very little constant thread and you will find yourself forgetting what the main storyline is (if there really is one, I’m not sure anymore), as you’re so caught up in trying to keep track of what everyone is saying and what the hell it all means. Yes, it’s “kid jargon” which normally I hate, but Detention oozes with so much pop culture there is no way in hell you could take this seriously. It is utterly unapologetic in its style, and you’re thrust into this hyperactive, over the top, surreal world from the second the film starts. You may as well be launched physically at the screen, this movie throws you about so much.
Detention is directed by Joseph Khan, the guy behind Torque, yes, Torque. And brilliantly, there are references to that in this movie. This is not a man who takes himself seriously, making him the best fit for this ridiculous film.
Performance wise this is a badass cast. Josh Hutcherson (now making a name for himself as Peeta in The Hunger Games) oozes with effortless cool and Dane Cook is hilarious as the rather sadistic Principal Verge, it’s a cast that John Hughes could have put together, each oddball complementing the next.
This film is not for everyone that’s a given, but if you don’t take everything so damn seriously and lighten up, this could be the most fun you have all year.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a cinema screening.