The Haunting of Crestview High Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 101 Films
Directed by Matthew Spradlin
Written by Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick
2012, 91 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on October 27th 2014
Judd Nelson as Headmaster Nash
Ben Browder as Max
Amanda Alch as Megan McDurst
Marc Donato as Tarek Ahmed
Another 101 Films release brings us yet another relatively old, low-budget horror film with a changed title (in this case, from the original, superior Bad Kids Go to Hell) and horribly photoshopped cover art with a picture of a house on the front. This time, at least, it's not a cabin in the woods.
The Breakfast Club is the obvious frame of reference for this odd blend of sex comedy and supernatural horror film. The titular Crestview Academy is home to the spoiled, brattish offspring of the rich and elite, their dull misbehaviour coming across as a cheap, less witty Mean Girls (itself played homage to in the recent and infinitely more wonderful Stage Fright). With six of them trapped in detention, the story skips back and forth in time to show the kids' various bad behaviours. One by one, the brats begin to die in mysterious circumstances. Is a fellow student to blame, or could it be something more supernatural? The rather predictable horror elements play second fiddle to the tired, distasteful high-school hijinks - be it the taunting of the disabled in its cafeteria scene, or slow-mo dancing on the table in a desperate attempt to be sexy. Even a glorified cameo from original Breakfast Club cast member Judd Nelson can't save it from mediocrity, although he does lend the film its most tolerable moments.
It looks cheap and ugly, and sounds even worse. The score is as loud, obtrusive and obnoxious as its characters, making The Haunting of Crestview High a thoroughly annoying experience. The humour doesn't work, the acting grating and amateurish. What makes it stand out from the rest is that it was based on an indie comic book of the same name (its original, better name, that is). Written and directed by the comic's own creators, there's an undeniable sense of passion behind the camera; that this is, at least in intention, more than just another lazy low-budget horror film. It's a shame then, that the creators' obvious love for their material doesn't translate into a good movie. It's his first time behind the camera, but with director Matthew Spradlin having penned the original comic book, one would have expected him to have had a better handle on the writing.
That hasn't stopped them angling for a sequel, though. As well as the open ending and teasing post-credits sequence, Spradlin and Wernick have set up a Kickstarter project hoping to get Bad Kids Go to Hell 2 off the ground. More power to them, although I certainly won't be seeking it out, in the unlikely event it should ever manage to escape from development hell.