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The Filmaholic Reviews: Detention (2011)

Posted on the 31 October 2013 by Filmaholic Reviews @FilmaholicRvews

The Filmaholic Reviews: Detention (2011)

Detention has never been this fun. 

The Lowdown: Quirky, satirical, brilliant, and hilarious, Detentionis one of the best horror-comedies, period. Rich with satire, meta-humor, and decades of pop culture references up the wazoo, Detentionis a wacky, random conglomeration of stuff from every style and genre that somehow all comes together in the end. The kicker: The film even features a time-traveling stuffed bear. Enough said.
1. The Plot: The plot of Detention has so much going on that it is nearly impossible to describe. It is also a nonlinear narrative complete with random wackiness and moments of true brilliance, but I’ll get to that in a bit. In short, a maniacal serial killer calling himself Cinderhella is going around Grizzly Lake High School killing students. Meanwhile, Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell), the uncoolest kid at school is having the worst day of her life. If you’ve ever had a bad day, well, it wasn’t as bad as Riley’s. She has her eyes on Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson), the coolest kid in school, but sadly, Clapton has eyes for Ione (Spencer Locke), who was once Riley’s best friend. When the killer strikes again and more shenanigans happen, all three of them end up in detention, where they must solve the mystery of the Cinderhella killer. You will never imagine how insane it gets from there.
The Filmaholic Reviews: Detention (2011)

2. The Characters:    Shanley Caswell (The Conjuring) is Riley, the world’s most miserable high schooler. Nothing seems to be going well for her; she has a broken leg, missed the bus, got her iPod stolen all, lost her best friend, lost her crush to her best friend, and is being hit on by the lamest dude in school, just to name a few things. Riley, in addition, is a bit of a cynic, and her sharp tongue and quips keep her sanity intact. 

The Filmaholic Reviews: Detention (2011)

Oh yeah, and instead of being picked as a cheerleader, she got to be the school mascot instead. How cruel. 

   Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) is Clapton Davis, who is waaaaay too cool for school. He is popular with everyone in Grizzly Lake High School except for Principal Verge (Dane Cook), who would do anything to expel him. Clapton always seems to be in his own little world, and it’s a laid-back performance that Hutcherson feels comfortable in.
The Filmaholic Reviews: Detention (2011)

   Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Retribution) is Ione, Riley’s ex-friend and a bit of a bitch. Ione is a bit of an oddball, constantly throwing out 90s pop culture references and swooning over Clapton Davis. The character of Ione helps to create a balance between the three main characters.

The Filmaholic Reviews: Detention (2011)

3. Bits and Pieces:    Detention is what would happen if highlights from every style, genre, and era (at least from the 1990s) got thrown into a blender. It is unlike any film I’ve ever seen. Horror, sci-fi, teen drama, and comedy all intermingle, though one’s mileage may vary. It is very easy to get lost in the narrative of the film, since the narrative is basically a fast-paced series of snappy remarks, pop culture and music references, and meta-humor. It may not help that the narrative is partially nonlinear. If one understands the references, then he or she will have a blast watching the film. If the references go over one’s head, then he or she will be confused. In short, it’s a mixed bag.    Detention is also one helluva fast-paced film. It is like a roller coaster of nonstop quippy dialogue, visual gags, and breaking-the-fourth-wall humor. The sheer meta-ness of the film is almost exhausting, but it’s also interesting since most films are a lot less self-aware than Detention.    However, even though the film doesn’t really have a solid, focused narrative, it is quite brilliant as to how all of the elements come together in the end. What plot there is actually ends up resolving itself quite nicely, if in a decidedly insane manner (it involves time-travel, so go figure). The first two acts of the film don’t make a whole lot of sense, but in the third act, all of the pieces begin to fall neatly into place, albeit with plenty of deus-ex machine moments.
The Bottom Line:What Detention lacks in cohesion it more than makes up for in its meta-humor and ability to make sense out of nonsense. In a nutshell, Detention is a wacky conglomeration of stuff from every genre from horror to teen drama, and it is amazing how the film is able to weave together and make sense out of so many different narratives. In terms of the satirical cultural and music references, even if one doesn’t understand every reference, there will be some they will understand and have a good laugh at. Truly, Detention is an experimental masterpiece. Again, it also features a time-traveling stuffed bear. Why are you not watching this film right now?
Detention is property of Detention Films. This review was written by me.
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