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Alien bear. Flux capacitor. Fly blood DNA. ’90s references… so many ’90s references. What’s not to love? Detention is a mashup of horror, comedy, sic-fi, thriller, action and romance… and it works. It’s does have negative reviews and it certainly isn’t for everyone but you (yeah, you!) should give it a try tonight. Another reason it’s so great is because it stars Josh Hutcherson, and who doesn’t love Josh Hutcherson? Not me, that’s for sure.
The storyline is so all-over-the-place that it’s difficult to give a synopsis but generally the story revolves around Riley Jones, played by Shanley Caswell, as she tries to navigate her final year of high school, get the guy (you guessed it – Josh Hutcherson) and save the world. I won’t go into it any more details because I don’t want to destroy the magic but it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.
This is yet another meta-film, like other recent meta-films such as The Kingsman and The Final Girls it’s at least acutely self aware and refers back to itself. This can be really jarring and more than a little pretentious at times, but in this case it really added to the extreme style and hyper feeling of this film instead of detracting from it. It was more reminiscent of Cabin in the Woods, which is probably one of the reasons I liked it so much.
Another interesting point to mention is that this is director Joseph Khan’s return after the disaster that was Torque. If you remember that mess of a movie then you’ll understand why Khan took a break after it was released. It shows something about his character that he didn’t decide to play it safe with this movie. He really went out on a limb and it paid off. He decided to forget about snobby critics and made the movie that he wanted to. That’s something to admire.
Detention is exactly what it wants to be. There are a lot of reviews saying it is trying to be this or that but I can’t be clear enough that it is exactly what it wants to be. There’s even a line in the movie where one of the character’s makes a comment about how awful Torque is, which was so hilarious in it’s self-deprecation.
All in all, this is a wild ride of a movie; it’s jacked up on Mountain Dew and it’s not making any apologies for it. Give it a gander and let me know what you think.
Director: Joseph Kahn
Writers: Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke