Movie Review: Detention

Remember the movie Torque? It came out shortly after the original The Fast and the Furious film and was seen by many as “Fast and the Furious on motorcycles”. However some people, like myself, saw it differently. Torque is an awesome film in my mine but not for good reasons. The film seemed to have an identity crisis. On one hand, you could see a studio influence pushing the film to be another Fast and the Furious film but on the other hand you could see a film that was a huge inside joke by the director and actors. By no means is Torque a great, good or even decent film but it’s one I love for all the wrong reasons. I bring up Torque because now, director Joseph Kahn who was the driving force behind that film being nothing more than an elaborate joke has finally returned after almost 8 long years to bring us his new film Detention.

Detention, which debuted at SXSW in 2011, tells the simple story of a standard high school slasher but adds in a time-traveling bear, a guy who possesses fly DNA and can spit acid, a weird obsession with 1992 (not the whole 90s…just 1992), a film within the film called Cinderhella and Dane Cook.

Did you get all that?

To say Detention is a busy film would be a massive understatement. It’s all over the place but this is to its credit. Yes the film feels frantic and like a live-action cartoon but it does all of this with sharp wit and a distinct vision. The film wants to be as unique as possible and it is but does so without sacrificing any important film things along the way, such as characters or story. Each character in the film is unique and different and are given just enough development and time so that they are more than your standard two-dimensional slasher victims. There are the standard roles you expect: the popular girl, the jock, the nerd, the awkward girl, the jerk teacher/principal. However what Kahn does with this film is that he gives each one a unique twist and each stereotypical slasher character role feels new all over again.

If there are any flaws, Detention seems to lose some steam towards the end. The end goes all out as you would expect but it still fell kind of flat for me.

Detention is a film you’ll either love or hate with five minutes. Either you’ll love it’s unique style, busy nature and distinct take on the slasher genre or you’ll find it annoying, self-indulgent and crap. Personally, I’m with the former. Detention is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in recent memory (yes I like more than even Cabin in the Woods) but I’m sure most people won’t see it that way. I will no doubt be in the minority of that opinion but that’s just how much I loved this film.

Score: 9/10

Note: Pay attention for the inside joke concerning Torque during the film, it definitely gave me a laugh.