26 March 2014 | Hey_Sweden
Nothing special, but fun enough.
"The New Kids" is about average for this kind of film: competently if not stylishly made, routinely written, reasonably rousing for its big finish, and full of characters whom you can either like or loathe. And the sides are pretty well delineated: there are the good guys and there are the bad guys. And the bad guys do their able best to show you how much they deserve to die. Director Sean S. Cunningham, who despite efforts like this will always be best known as the original "Friday the 13th" guy, does a decent job, working from a script by future director Stephen Gyllenhaal (who also happens to be the father of Jake and Maggie G.). This is mostly a showcase for the younger crowd, with most of the adult cast relegated to minor roles. Certainly there is some capable production design present here, as well as a good music score by the always reliable Lalo Schifrin.
Lori Loughlin ('Full House') and Shannon Presby (making his only feature film appearance here) play Abby and Loren MacWilliams, two nice, ordinary teens who end up living with their uncle Charlie (Eddie Jones, 'Lois & Clark') and Aunt Fay (Lucy Martin, "Cops and Robbers") in Florida. They become the targets of degenerate prick Eddie Dutra (James Spader, 'The Blacklist') and his gang of repulsive redneck flunkies. Things escalate until a bloody showdown at the amusement park that uncle Charlie operates.
Cunningham does work with a pretty good cast here, also including Eric Stoltz as nice guy Mark, John Philbin ("The Return of the Living Dead"), the great (and too briefly seen) Tom Atkins ("Night of the Creeps") as Abby and Lorens' dad, Brad Sullivan ("The Untouchables") as Colonel Jenkins, and John D. LeMay, future star of the 'Friday the 13th' TV series, in a bit part. Loughlin and Presby do make their characters likable enough that you root for them, and Spader, Philbin and others are just so disagreeable that one just can't wait for them to get their comeuppance. Jones is engaging as a man who's a bit of a dreamer. There is a degree of 1980s style cheese to these proceedings (we get to hear the ditty "Stand Up" three times before this is over), but it's all pretty absorbing up to and including that climax. The final death is fitting and effective.
If you're an animal lover, though, you may be taken aback by the actions of Dutra & gang.
Seven out of 10.