Detention (2011)

Hold the fucking phone, we need to take a moment here. Did you guys hear about this? A bunch of scientists just discovered that a known bacteria has like a billion times more resistance to toxic metals than previously believed. This grants the microbes in question the unique ability to feast on a naturally occurring liquid called gold chloride, which is both worthless and highly toxic. And the little bastards POOP PURE GOLD. How is this not the biggest headline in every newspaper? Won’t this immediately destabilize global commodities markets? Was I premature in knocking down an old lady to steal her groceries? I didn’t think so.

Microbial alchemy, man. Wild. You toss these bad boys in a puddle of toxic slush and suddenly where you expected to see a bunch of disposable, unremarkable junk, you find a nugget of something immensely valuable….not unlike today’s surprisingly decent flavor, Detention!

Hoo boy did I reach for that one. But for reals, gold poop. Gnar.

I get to be Emilio this time!

The story: Listen to the Netflix description for Detention and tell me you wouldn’t expect a horror version of The Breakfast Club: “In this genre-bending slasher flick, a high schooler gets slapped with detention on the same night as senior prom. But plenty of other kids will also be missing the big event when a past-her-prime prom queen shows up to slay them.”

Okay, first off, that description is miles from accurate. It’s as if the dude who wrote it was an hour away from his deadline before he realized his screener DVD was dubbed in Mandarin. Probably for the best though – if it had been on point, I’d throw a fit that some a-hole decided to tell me who the killer was before I even put the disc in.

Yeah, there’s a killer on the loose. Try not to get hung up on it! You like? Puns are the hallmark of a gifted writer.

As it turns out, that information isn’t remotely important. And while this movie is indeed set in a high school and there are indeed hints of Breakfast Club wafting through the air, it’s much more like My So-Called Life moved to Eerie, Indiana to raise the abandoned love child of Scream and Heathers. If you followed that then this movie and its devotion to all things 90s is for you. The story is pretty much “it’s the end of senior year and people are getting murdered” but the narrative is just a big felt-covered bulletin board on which to thumbtack as much weird shit as possible.

Where have I seen this before…?

Biggest letdown: Dane Cook! BOO! Negative points! Just kidding, the king of the chicken sangwich is actually more or less tolerable here, shockingly. The movie’s chief selling point – its constant barrage of off-the-wall sci-fi twists and pop culture references – is also what makes it ultimately forgettable. The risk in a movie this farcical with so much insanity taken for granted is that the stakes dip pretty low. Detention tries to compensate with sporadic breaks for relationship development and personal history flashbacks but these tend to be sluggish and uninspired. You never really care much about anybody.

Every high school horror needs its Scoobies.

Why you should watch: At least for the first half hour or so I was laughing out loud pretty frequently, so yeah, it’s funny. I really have very little understanding of how the plot actually resolves itself, but this is a movie that places little value on coherence. There’s so much dismembering and aliens and human-insect hybrids and lord-knows-what-else that it’s basically 93 minutes of live-action slapstick cartoon. But it crams passable wit, genuine laughs, and even a bit of feel-good heart into an affable, kooky package that wisely steers well clear of Scary Movie-style parody. The popularity of that franchise and others like it makes me worry about humanity.

Not even in the top ten weirdest scenes.

Memorable Moment: I won’t do it justice but there’s a debate scene between Riley, the implausibly frumpified outcast (who reminds me of Lena Dunham, minus whatever quality makes me hate the Girls creator with the fire of a thousand suns), and Gord, the perpetually hockey jersey clad Canadian transfer student. Half the cast is made up of complete unknowns and Travis Fleetwood, who plays Gord, is one of them. So I looked him up and it turns out he is – no kidding – a world-renowned freestyle rap battle champion who goes by the name Organik. He’s fucking hilarious. “Notice how she expresses almost no sympathy for chickens? That’s because Americans HATE chickens. For example, KFC serves popcorn chicken to assure the customers that the chicken has been blown to bits. And yet, the meatball sub at Subway isn’t called popcorn cow! Americans want chickens to DIE.”

I demand more of this man on my television.

Choice quote: Gord’s scenes are all pretty good but there are more than enough deadpan one-liners to go around. “CinderHella wants to kill me more. I’m hot; your house sucks. You lose.”

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3 Responses to “Detention (2011)”

  1. […] Detention – School’s out for-evahhhh! […]

  2. […] from the movie Detention, except with ghosts instead of slashers. (If you haven’t seen Detention, I highly recommend it. It’s definitely not what I thought it would […]

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