“Bad Kids Go To Hell,” 2012,
From IMDB: On a stormy Saturday afternoon, six students from Crestview Academy begin to meet horrible fates as they serve out their detentions. Is a fellow student to blame, or perhaps Crestview’s alleged ghosts are behind the terrible acts?
Directed by Matthew Spradlin
I ran across the “Bad Kids” both at this year’s Comikaze Expo out in sunny Los Angeles. I listened to the pitch by creators Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick and was intrigued. Normally, I find movies like this on my own, but hadn’t come across this one that I could recall. Based on the Graphic Novel of the same name, writers Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick put together this film version of their story, with Spradlin occupying the director’s chair.
**Note that I have NOT read the source material for this film, so this isn’t going to be a comparison of the two, simply a review of the film on its own merits. Ready? Then let’s go!**
Where to begin? Let’s see. Let’s start with what Spradlin’s film announces for all the world to hear–through a brief monologue from bitchy-girl Tricia (Ali Faulkner)–it is NOT.
It is NOT “The Breakfast Club.”
True enough. Despite the whole “weekend-detention-for-disparate-archetypes” construction, this is clearly not the feel-good, coming-of-age story that John Hughes put together oh-so-long ago.
But it does have a cameo by Judd Nelson as the hard-ass headmaster, so the film tips its hat to Hughes’ film there, if a bit ironically. John Bender as “the Man?”
No, this film is something wholly different. Whereas TBC takes disparate individual personalities, throws them in a pressure-cooker of teen angst and sees what develops, BKGTH takes disparate film personalities, throws them in a blender, and then force feeds the viewer the resulting pulp.
And it is pulp, but in good way.
Megan (smart-girl), Tarek (dweeb), Veronica (rebel), Craig (Jock), Tricia (Queen), and Matt (outsider) are all assigned detention on a Saturday at their ritzy, upscale, private school. Rumors that the newly constructed school library in which they are locked–locked!–by school psychologist Dr. Day.
When the rumor that the library is haunted/cursed by ghost of the old Indian whose house was bought and demolished to make room for the library–after he killed himself by jumping out a 14th floor window, of course–cracks in the rick-kid armor begin to appear as a seance is held and the spirit of the the Indian–Jacob Rainwater, so of course it’s raining cats and dogs today–is believed to have crossed over for revenge.
Although why revenge against these particular kids isn’t clear until the last third of the movie.
Regardless, Spradlin treats us to type-A personalities butting heads, a quick death of the first victim (and the others in succession by increasing bizarre means), lots of red herrings, and leaves Matt, the poor kid with a secret of his own, hanging out to dry by the end.
So what we are left with is part “The Breakfast Club,” part “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and part “Final Destination.”
That’s not a bad thing, either. Spradlin admirably brings the various elements of the horror flick into alignment with the teen angst and revenge, although I did have problems with some elements of the flick.
My biggest concern is it is never actually explained why Matt shows up for detention in the first place, as he’s not scheduled (it’s no secret: everyone knows it early on), and would seem to be a wrench in the overall master plan that is playing out in the library that day. Magically, it all somehow comes together as if he was expected to be there all along. Also, I was able to pick up the “big reveal” at the end pretty early. If you’re sharp, you can, too.
Remember, the film is all about misdirection, as all of these types of films are. Think the Scream franchise.
A quick teaser indicates that there were plans for a sequel, which is now slated for a 2015 release. It will be based on the graphic novel Bad Kids Go 2 Hell. Get it? “2 Hell.” Cause it’s the sequel.
Anyway, I was able to get the source material for that, so I plan to read and review it soon, before seeing BKG2H next year.
As for this movie? I say “See it.” There might be better ways to spend 90 minutes of your time, but there are definitely WAAAAYYYYY worse ways to spend it.
3.5 out of 5.