Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bad Kids Go To Hell - QC Review



Directed byMatthew Spradlin
Starring:  Cameron Deane Stewart, Augie Duke, Ali Faulkner, Amanda Alch and Judd Nelson
Rated: R  
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes  
Release Date: October 27, 2012

What do you get when you mix "Scream" with "The Breakfast Club"? You get this low budget, but very ambitious little horror/thriller called "Bad Kids Go To Hell". Featuring a cast of virtual unknowns and a first time director at the helm, the odds are of course stacked against it. But like most smaller film fare, its premise is intriguing enough to at least warrant a look.

The entire film takes place inside a library where a number of High School students are being forced to spend their weekend detention with only a single teacher on location to keep an eye on them. It isn't too difficult to see the connections to that John Hughes classic (even Judd Nelson makes a cameo appearance during some flashbacks), but it veers off in a completely different direction almost immediately.

These kids are not the cute and quirky types, they are a group of rich kids that as fate would have it, inexplicably all received detention on the same exact week. There are only two exceptions to this equation however, the first of which is the school's resident goth girl Veronica (Augie Duke) and the other being Matt (Cameron Deane Stewart), a hopeless school flunkie who had actually been expelled just before sneaking into detention. This group of kids aren't what they seem and neither is the spooky, still under construction, library they are forced to be in for the next eight hours.


There are some interesting things going on with "Bad Kids Go To Hell", it's location evokes a nice creepy vibe that fits in well with the supposed ghost that is haunting the library and killing each kid one by one in some not-so-inspired ways. The actors do a fine job for the most part, however the lead actor of the bunch, Stewart, just can't seem to bring enough personality to his role to make him a satisfying protagonist.

The other kids fair a little better, Ali Faulkner as the queen bitch Tricia stands tall as the one actor to truly nail their role and Augie Duke makes for an appropriately bitchy goth girl. If the story had been a little bit more coherent (it really starts to fall apart by the end) and if we had a better understanding of what exactly was going on from minute to minute (the cockroaches were a real headscratcher, as was the meaning behind the final shots during the end creidts), then perhaps the film would have worked better.


It isn't completely without entertainment value though. The mystery surrounding the kid's deaths is intriguing and the direction by Matthew Spradlin shows signs of a filmmaker that could grow to produce much better films in the future (his use of music is unique and strangely inspired despite not totally fitting with the imagery), but ultimately the film crumbles under its own pretentious narrative that gets overly complicated near the end with a few too many twists that makes very little sense when it finally settles down. This is worth a look if you have it on a streaming service or cable, otherwise it is an easy one to skip.

FINAL VERDICT:

RENT IT

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