Josh Hutcherson Enters Detention

Do you like the 90s? No, I mean, do you really like the 90s? Because Detention, out on Blu-Ray™, DVD and Digital today from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, has a focus on the 90s that rivals this decade’s most intense Bieber fanatic. Every single possible reference from that decade has been lovingly, bewilderingly crammed into the script.

Detention is an apocalyptic fantasy, horror, science fiction, action-thriller, body swapping, teen romantic comedy with a time-traveling space-bear. If that doesn’t get you, then I don’t know what to do with you. Perhaps you should go over there and stand with the Wall-Mart greeters and envelope stuffers of the world. To enjoy this film, you MUST embrace the randomness. Find out why after the jump!

Written by Joseph Kahn and Mark Palermo and directed by Kahn, the film was made independently and has now been picked up and released by Sony. I can only imagine that this is due to the recent overwhelming success of the film’s star, teen-heartthrob Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) who was also one of the executive producers for Detention. Seriously, who doesn’t want to see more of this guy? This is the type of thing indie filmmakers pray for. As for Kahn, this is his second feature as a director, but his first feature to be independently financed.

The film also stars Dane Cook (Waiting and Employee of The Month) as the embittered high school principal, Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife) as the popular prom queen, Ione,  and introduces Shanley Cashwell to the big screen as the cool loser of the school, Riley. You will also witness the most adorable goth chic to ever roam the halls of a high school, played by Tiffany Boone. But these aren’t the only stars you will see as the film has a bunch of cameos that will fly by you before you can even register that you’ve just seen Dominic Monaghan being told to eat c*ck.

The film won me over in the first scene. I had to pause the film for a phone call or whatnot and the frame I paused on said “3. Your lack of faith in the durability of Ke$ha is disturbing”. Wait, what? That was the moment. The moment we decided that this film needed to be watched properly on a big screen with beer and pizza and gin.

A massive shout-out has to be made to the guys who did the graphics for the film.  The font choices are nice, the wipes within scenes are creatively done and the opening credits are blended seamlessly into the shots setting up the high school. It’s too bad some of the CGI later on didn’t achieve the same standard.

The entire film is loosely hung on a slasher plot. Someone dressed up as the villain in the recently released local horror, Cinderhella, is going around killing people… blah, blah, blah. But the plot quickly gets lost within the film’s own personality, which is mainly a commentary on teen culture over the past thirty years. The references and commentary wiz past you with a dizzying ADD-fueled speed only matched by Scott Pilgrim’s editing. Movies like The fly, Freaky Friday, Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club are amalgamated into the plot with varying degrees of success, but this film is at it’s best when it is just being itself.

Parts of this film that made it into my ‘Yay!’-list are: The back-story of the time-travelling space-bear; the meta movie reference to Cinderhella’s own influences that ended with Ron Jeremy at it’s core; the flashback of detentions in the library through years of fashion and music fads; and the debate of who would win in a fight, Swayze from Roadhouse or Segal from On Deadly Ground.

As a horror, the lack of gore contributes greatly to the slasher plot’s lack of impact. Surprisingly, the deaths aren’t as creative as the rest of the film. Blood on a budget also means that when someone’s head gets cut off, the lack of splatter makes it almost dismissible. In fact by the time that plot is set to wrap up – you almost don’t care anymore and all you want is to get it over with so you can see more time-traveling space-bears or possibly more 90’s references. Yeah, I went there.

This film is enjoyably silly.

Very enjoyably silly.

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