Detention of the Dead: Film Review

Detention of the Dead - H 2013

Detention of the Dead - H 2013

Zero-imagination zom-com offers neither scares nor laughs.

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