Detention starts in 1976 at Reseda High School late one night where a group of teenagers have broken in, in an effort to scare Gabriel (Gregory Mikurak) off his girlfriend Diane (Catherine Combs) one guy named Jack (Billy Aaron Brown) tricks Gabriel into getting in a furnace which ignites after a freak lightening bolt & incinerates poor Gabriel. Jump forward to the 'Present Day' where it's the day of a big football game & everyone from Reseda High is going, except for those unlucky seven students who all have to stay behind for detention. As detention starts a thunder storm outside rages, heavy rain & lightening trap the few remaining students & teacher's inside the school. With the phone lines down & the entire school locked down the students quickly find themselves being killed off by the vengeful spirit of Gabriel who wants revenge for his brutal death with the lives of the children of those responsible...
Directed by James D.R. Hickox this is a pretty awful low budget supernatural horror film with a strong element of teen slasher thrown in there, Detention is really quite bad on any level you care to choose. I will start by commenting on the positive aspects of Detention, it only lasts for 80 minutes. That's it for positives. Now the negatives, of which there are many. On a conceptually level Detention needed more work, the idea that a bunch of kids are being punished for their parents past sins isn't new is it (A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) anyone?)? The idea of some killer ghost slicing up annoying American teens is as uninspired as they come & Detention doesn't add anything to the mix & in fact messes up any attempt at tension, shock or surprise. The twist ending is ludicrous & makes zero sense, so the whole idea of who the actual killer ghost was is turned on it's head but when the last two teens say they can't see Gabriel & that he was imaginary how did the entire class of seven students see him earlier in the film? Who or what was that black cloud thing flying around? Who took the the mobile phones from the drawer? Why was Miss Cipher seemingly possessed considering the twist end? It makes no sense when you think about it. Are we to understand that ghost's can now apply for & get teaching jobs? Who killed the Coach? Was that thin kid possessed or did he just go mental? Who put those images of the kids parents on the computer screen for them to see? Who put that girls body on the stairs with the sword sticking out so that guy could use it at the end? Nothing here gels together, there's one contradiction after another that just doesn't make sense & leaves you annoyed that you bothered watching it. Besides a very muddled supernatural ghost story that has more holes than something with lots of holes Detention is at heart a teen slasher with a bunch of clichéd American teens (the goth, the pretty rich bitch, the black guy with attitude, the final blonde girl & her loyal boyfriend) walking around lots of dark corridors for no apparent reason getting killed off. There are only about three corridors in the film & about four rooms despite an entire high school to choose from & the significance of the thunder & lightening is never explained either.
The lighting levels in Detention are noticeably off, whenever it cuts to an outside shot there are dark black clouds but it is surprisingly light inside the school despite the electricity having been cut off so there would be no lights. Also at the very end as the last two teens leave the school after their ordeal the grass & pavement is dry yet it had been raining for the entire film prior to that point & the reason they were trapped was stated to be because of flooding. A badly made & sloppy film all round with forgettable visuals & some truly terrible computer effects, the fire & ghost effects are embarrassingly bad. This thing doesn't even deliver on the gore, all of the death's occur off screen, there's a bit of blood splatter but no proper gore effects or memorable kills.
The IMDb says Detention had a budget of about $2,150,000 which is amazingly high considering the cruddy film that got made for it, although shot & completed in 2008 this remained unreleased until 2010 where it apparently earned a paltry $190 at the US box-office. The late David Carradine has a small role, he also gets an 'In Memory of' credit just before the end credits roll. The rest of the cast are bland although there are one or two nice looking girls here but that doesn't make it any more watchable.
Detention is a really bad supernatural teen slasher horror film that fails miserably on all counts, the makers seemed to have forgotten about the scares & gore as there aren't any while the plot & intended twist's makes little sense. Even running less than 80 minutes this is a real chore to sit through.
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