Deadly Detention – review (Netflix)

    Less than five minutes into Deadly Detention, a Netflix teen horror flick, and I knew it was going to be eye-wateringly awful. It opens with a girl running from an unseen threat, along narrow corridors in an abandoned building. We get a title card: Three days ago. We are on a bus with five teenagers. They are being driven to Wayview prison by Pete (Kevin Blake), who has a shrine to a deceased student, Jenny Duke, on the dashboard. Wayview, an old, now closed, prison, is to be used for Saturday detention.  

   They are in the prison because their school is being fumigated and the state loans them the prison for the detention because that would happen. For five students. The five students are; Alexandra (Alex Frnka), Jessica (Sarah Davenport), Barrett (Henry Zaga), Kevin (Coy Stewart) and Taylor (Jennifer Robyn Jacobs).

   Alexandra is a hot pants wearing, wannabe vixen, who insist on making trouble. Barrett is a pretty boy jock, Kevin is a bible carrying black kid, Jessica is a goody-two-shoes, collegiate athlete and Taylor is a tomboy with a skateboard. Overseeing this disparate rabble is Ms Presley (Gillian Vigman) their strict principle. 

    After locking them in a detention room, the students are shocked out of their boredom when Ms Presley bangs on the door, begging to be let in. The students watch as she suffers a bloody death. The students are unable to open the door as the principal is dying. Shortly afterwards, the door is unlocked and the principal’s body has disappeared. 

   A voice comes over the tannoy system. They are still under detention. They leave the room to go and search for a way out. They believe the principle is messing with them as the voice keeps on talking to them. As they walk around the abandoned facility, Alexandra comes across the corpse of Ms Presley. The students are, understandably, freaked out. The voice tells them to keep moving.

   Barrett decides he does not want to go where the voice is directing them. He opts for another exit and is electrocuted. He survives and rejoins the group. They keep moving and are suddenly pursued by a menacing figure. They get trapped in another room and the room begins to fill with gas. They escape into the ceiling. Whilst in the ceiling, Taylor’s laces get stuck in something. The other four fall through the ceiling, Barrett and Alexandra end up in one place, Jessica and Kevin somewhere else. 

   Barrett and Alexandra, already attracted to one another, decide to get amorous. Jessica and Kevin try to keep moving but are slowed because Kevin twisted his ankle in the fall. Kevin decides to take a detour, not wanting to slow Jessica down. The unknown assailant catches up with Kevin. Jessica finds Barrett and Alexandra. They argue and Barrett insults the two women. They leave him alone. He gets killed. 

    Just Jessica and Alexandra are left and they find the person tormenting them. They see a shrine to Jenny Duke. Jessica gets killed and Alexandra is held by Pete, who it turns out was Jenny’s abusive father. He blames them for his daughter committing suicide. Jessica tells him she was her best friend and knows that she committed suicide because of him and his abusive ways. As he tries to kill her, Ms Presley, who was not dead apparently, comes and bashes him in the head. 

   Jessica asks if any of the other students have survived. All of them, it seems Pete was really bad at making sure people were dead. The end.

    It is almost too easy to rage on this film. It might be challenging Alien Warfare for the worse film on Netflix, though I suspect I’ve a few more contenders for that title to watch. Alien Warfare still shades it for the moment, simply on the strength of the truly atrocious acting.

    That is not to say that the acting is good in Deadly Detention, a title that in itself is a warning of the probable quality of the film. The actors themselves are not bad, but the script! The script is terrible. Clichéd, flat, silly and unoriginal, Deadly Detention takes a stupid idea and makes it worse. 

    There is an unwritten rule in screenwriting that states, in the case of novice screenwriters, that for every completed screenplay you can remove the first ten pages and the story would still work. That most definitely holds true for Deadly Detention. Nothing that happens in the first ten minutes adds to the film.

All the first ten minute does is extends the length of the film. It does not help set up the story or set the mood of the film. The opening sequence of Jessica running around the prison is taken from later in the film and at that point, she is not even being chased. 

    The characters are all clichés; bad girl, good girl, emo girl, black kid and jock, and there is a moment in the film, albeit brief, when the film seems to be heading down the path of David Fincher’s Se7en, of punishing the students for their particular narcissisms, Barrett getting his face disfigured after showing how vainglorious he is in one scene. That was as far as that particular idea went, the story reverting to a basic chase horror. 

    The directing, by Blair Hayes, is amateurish. Considering that he is also credited with directing segments of Austin Powers: The Spy Wo Shagged Me, it is disappointing how horrible the directing is in the film. Barely any of the jump scares work, the perceived threat and actual threat in the film is never apparent.

Pete, the bus driver and, it turns out in the end, school security guard, appears in the film for all of five minutes; briefly at the beginning, driving with the shrine of his daughter – the same huge shrine that none of the students noticed – and at the end for a massive exposition dump and an uninspired climax. 

    Given all of the above, you would think that there would not be any element of the film that could be worse. The directing is poor, the acting bland, the script by Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou is wretched. Still, it is not the worse thing in the film. The worse thing in this film is the music.

It is truly horrendous, unnecessarily loud, misplaced and just not adding to the atmosphere, what little there was, of the film. Deadly Detention is ninety minutes of your life you will not get back. There is no good reason to watch this film. 


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