31 Days of Reviews: Detention of the Dead

We’ve got a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, a rebel and a basket case… Yep, think The Breakfast Club meets zombies.

The plot of this movie is pretty simple. While attending detention, a group of teens finds that their school has been overrun by zombies. They must figure out how to escape or survive.

It’s a comedy in every way you look at it. Even the more emotional scenes are suddenly sent into something abrupt and comedic. It’s fun in itself just to watch the movie and see all the references, homages, and comparisons in general. The movie really is Breakfast Club with zombies. Each of the characters is there, and even the wardrobes synch up for a couple of the characters. This goes beyond just starting out in detention too. Later in the movie, we even have the “what got you detention” conversations in the library.

The writing for the first half is pretty great. One moment we have a “dammit, Janet!” reference to Rocky Horror, and the next minute we’re launched into some social commentary. My favorite instance of this is probably when two students have to resort to using the “ancient” school computer, and after they wait a full 30 seconds of screen time in silence for it to turn on, one student says, “Well if this isn’t a commentary of our current education system, then I don’t know what is.”

Justin Chon, from the Twilight Saga and 21 and Over, stars in this movie as a comedic stoner. I would go as far as to say that he’s probably the best part of the movie. If he continues on this path, I could see him getting the same popularity that Aaron Yoo had in the mid 2000s. Hopefully he won’t disappear from mainstream film in the same way.

At about half way through, the movie starts to slowly decline in quality. We have some overtly sexual scenes, one which I didn’t feel was necessary and others following the “I don’t want to die a virgin” trope. This hits its peak at the end when the movie is rushed into a perfect Hollywood type ending which is thrown off by a final jump scare which doesn’t really make any sense. Oh well, it is what it is.

The movie has some pretty interesting songs on its soundtrack. The problem is that they never seem to really fit the scene they’re being used in. They fit the quirky style of the movie, but that’s about it. I had a couple of problems with the foley and overall sound editing at times. There are a couple of instances where it sounds like the main characters are all echoing which doesn’t make any sense, and frankly it’s a little annoying.

In the beginning, I would have recommended this completely, but as the movie continued on, I definitely lost that feeling. If you’re in the mood for a campy attempt at Shaun of the Dead mixed with the Breakfast Club, then you can go ahead and give it a try. I would really only recommend the first half though.

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