Detention of the Dead: Film Review
Friday, June 28
Jacob Zachar, Alexa Nikolas, Christa B. Allen, Jayson Blair, Justin Chon, Max Adler, Joseph Porter, Michele Messmer
Alex Craig Mann
Alex Craig Mann sends zombies to high school.
This week's lesson in connect-the-dots genre mashups is Alex Craig Mann's Detention of the Dead, a numbing pastiche whose brightest comedic moment is the reference to a newly reanimated jock as "Aberzombie and Fitch." The Breakfast Club-meets-zombie conceit may generate some curiosity on home video, but word of mouth will be weak.
Jacob Zachar leads a thin ensemble as Eddie, a good kid given a rare punishment when caught using Adderall as a study aid. Kept after school with a couple of bullying athletes, a skateboarding stoner, the head cheerleader and a goth girl, Eddie is still fretting about his permanent record when a Romero-style outbreak turns the school halls into a deathtrap.
Having invested all their imagination in putting this handful of stereotypes together, screenwriters Mann and Rob Rinow have them rush through the tired plot points of a flesh-eater siege: racing through shambling monsters to a better hideout, having one of them hide an infection until he turns rabid, and flirting chastely with "if you were the last boy on Earth" sexual fantasies. In an ill-advised fit of originality, they have a zombie arm break through a barricade and put a death grip on Eddie's crotch, initiating some crude double-entendre antics whose money shot spurts blood all over the horrified cheerleader.
With makeup and gore effects that could be bested by moderately gifted fanboys at a well equipped high school, Detention never manages a single scare -- a failing that would be forgivable if only it were making us laugh.
Production Company: Gala Films
Cast: Jacob Zachar, Alexa Nikolas, Christa B. Allen, Jayson Blair, Justin Chon, Max Adler, Joseph Porter, Michele Messmer
Director: Alex Craig Mann
Screenwriters: Rob Rinow, Alex Craig Mann
Producers: Michael Manasseri, Brooke P. Anderson
Executive producers: Robert Mann, Meryl Mann, Alex Craig Mann
Director of photography: Noah Rosenthal
Production designer: Danika Von Gesjen
Music: Cody Westheimer
Costume designer: Amy Julia Cheyfitz
Editor: Karl Armstrong
No rating, 86 minutes