Detention is an impossibly difficult movie to review, but that is the only thing I disliked about it. It is an odd, manic, mind-twistingly original film that never lets you take a breath and, if it did, you’d waste it saying, “What the hell?” Some people hate this movie, detest it, loath it with a passion, and I can’t blame them; saying that Detention is not for everyone is an understatement of Orca-sized proportions. But I, for one, absolutely loved this movie.
I won’t even try to describe the plot except to say that the Slasher elements are just one of dozens of crazily interwoven plotlines, none of which are taken seriously in the least. Instead of trying to explain how these storylines come together to form a semi-coherent narrative, I’ll simply list a few of those threads:
We have a self-described B.I.T.C.H.—I’ll let her tell you what the letters stand for. She embodies everything that is wrong with pop-culture-obsession and is mercifully killed off early on by the film’s Slasher, Cinderhella.
We have kills that are hilariously violent and, in many cases, involve seemingly spontaneous bloody explosions.
We have Riley Jones who, upon her introduction, is promptly mugged, on a suburban street and in broad daylight, by a hipster douchebag in a Sigur Ros t-shirt.
Then we have . . . well, we have the jock with fly blood who grew up with a TV on his hand, the cheerleader who kinda sorta gave birth to herself, the dude who spent nineteen years in detention, the taxidermied bear from the planet Starclaw that harbors a time-machine in its abdominal cavity . . . Look, if that’s not enough to make you decide whether or not to see this film, then, well, I don’t know what else to tell you.
Except to say that it’s no surprise that writer/director Joseph Kahn built his career on music videos; Detention is full of the crazy energy that defines most current pop videos. What is surprising is that Kahn lampoons—hell, excoriates—the type of vapid cool-mongers that make up the majority of music video watchers. He takes the concept of Cool and Hip, takes that teen ability to make everything Crazy and Important, and rips them all apart, sending them all up as if to say, “your ‘Cool’ and ‘Hip’ is ridiculous and stupid, your ‘Crazy’ and ‘Important’ is mundane and normal; time-travelling bears, that’s crazy; get over yourselves.” Based on Detention, Kahn seems to hate exactly those things—and people—that make music videos possible.
Then again, maybe I’m reading too much into it.
If Detention has one weakness it’s that its many pop-culture references are stamped with a woefully short shelf life. A random line as an example: “Hey, Sander, I saw your dad’s dick on Chat Roulette last night.” Yeah, it’s hilarious, but is Chat Roulette even a thing anymore?
So, why am I giving it four blood spots and not five? Well, a score of five blood spots is, for me, reserved for perfect Slasher films, and Detention is only arguably a Slasher at all. So, as a Slasher, it gets a four, but if I were writing this review for another site, one that dealt with movies of all sorts rather than one devoted to Slashers alone, then yeah, I’d give it a perfect score. It’s that fun.
Length: 93 min