Odds are, you haven’t heard of this film. Here in the UK Detention has only played in Film 4’s Fright Fest back in 2011 and was released on DVD at the end of August 2012 (so I’m even late to this). In America the film had a theatrical release in April 2012. The reason it came out then after being filmed in 2010? That’s mostly due to the lead actor being Josh Hutcherson and him recently being seen in a little film called The Hunger Games. In a similar way that the delay in releasing The Cabin in the Woods due to studio bankruptcy increased audience numbers following the success of Chris Hemsworth in Thor and The Avengers and more widescreen attention for Joss Whedon, Detention benefitted from casting an actor before hitting major fame. (Hutcherson may have appeared in Zathura, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the Oscar-nominated The Kids are Alright but it wasn’t until The Hunger Games that his name really entered the zeitgeist.) I have to be honest and admit that I initially came to know of Detention via The Hunger Games. I was bored, imdb was there, I’d just read The Hunger Games…we’ve all been there. So I found this film Detention and watched the trailer. I thought it was essentially a standard teen horror film with punchier dialogue. I’m not a horror fan so there wasn’t any way I was going to actively seek the film out. And it had Dane Cook in it. That’s enough to put a lot of people off it. Me included.
Time went on. And then one night I noticed my friend Lydia raving about Detention on twitter. Turns out she had seen it with her boyfriend and his friends – who had all (I think) seen it at Fright Fest the previous year. Now Lydia and I don’t always agree on films but I definitely respect her opinion – generally she’s a harsh critic – so if a film impressed her that much it has to have some merit to it. (She also told me that the director Joseph Kahn, mostly known for directing music videos, pretty much self-funded the entire film. If you want to get your film made your way that might be the only way to do it. Bravo!) So I gave it a go. Spoiler – it’s great. It’s really funny, well acted (I actually quite liked Cook), a great script, wonderful music (as you’d expect), it’s full of surprises…so much so that I’m worried about writing too much. I went into it knowing that the trailer, on first viewing, didn’t look great to me and that Hutcherson had a producing credit. That’s not really relevant but my brain still can’t get past the 18-year-old (at the time) with a producing credit. I’ve watched the trailer since seeing the film (aiming to get someone else interested in it) and I can now appreciate it on another level. There is a lot in that trailer that I didn’t get first time around. And watching the film a second time also gives you more.
So I’m going to steal a synopsis from somewhere but know that this is just the beginning for the film:
The road to graduation is never an easy one, but standing in their way is Cinderhella, a slasher-movie killer who has seemingly come to life and is preying on the school’s student body. As the clock ticks and the bodies pile up, the likely suspects are embroiled in a race against time to stop Cinderhella and ultimately save the world… if only they can get out of detention.
While looking for that (courtesy of movieweb.com) I discovered a less than favourable, to put it mildly, review of Detention from Time Out. Apparently some people don’t like it, but maybe it’s a generational thing. I can understand and appreciate the film on various levels (that would be spoilerific to discuss) and maybe that reviewer can’t. Or we just have completely different tastes in films. Taste is objective after all.
My main point is, I would recommend Detention to you all. Maybe you won’t like it, maybe it’ll be too reference-y for you, maybe the mix of everything going on won’t be to your liking, but just maybe, I’ll have helped to introduce you to a new film. Here’s hoping!
P.S. please visit Lydia’s blog and/or follow her on twitter @LydiarghGrace. We at DTSFT all approve.