2011 Written by Joseph Kahn and Mark Palermo
Directed by Joseph Kahn
Fourth walls? Where we’re going, we don’t need fourth walls! Yes, it is time to review Detention, which I got to see at an advanced screening for free (Tars sells out again! Damn you, Tars Tarkas!) Detention is basically Scream by way of The Breakfast Club and Juno, with more references to the 90s than you can shake your beeper at! If you aren’t familiar with Joseph Kahn, then you need to drop everything (after you’re done reading this and every other article on the site) and go get his other film, Torque, the greatest street racing film ever made. If you think there is a top for things to be over the top, Kahn proves you wrong by going so far over we’re under again, and then even more over! Kahn’s career in music videos serves him well in creating a stylized whirlwind of awesome visual tricks, camera angles, text segments, flashbacks, and crazed editing.
Detention is a comedy, no doubt about that. But there is a killer on the loose, and following the tradition a popular girl is slayed in the opening sequence. Talking to the camera the whole while, she sets up the general feel for the film while spouting the kind of spoiled teenage nonsense you expect from and MTV reality show. So by the time she dies, you’re starting to believe in a higher power. The killer is dressed as “Cinderhella”, a character from the movie within the movie. The killings take a backseat for large parts of the film, our actual protagonist is another girl, who is about as popular as Casey Anthony Baby-sitters Club Adventures.
Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell) – This is what a Feminist looks like” declares her t-shirt written in Sharpie. Riley Jones is your sarcastic put-upon heroine who is the invisible dork of the school. Her futile crush on her longtime friend Clapton Davis is going nowhere, her life is a series of disappointments and disasters that her knowledge of 90s trivia and sarcasm can’t defeat, and worst of all, Cinderhella is trying to kill her. Shanley Caswell makes Ellen Page look like Kim Kardashian.
Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson) – The cool skater guy that all the girls want to love and be loved by. Clapton is a step away from being tossed from high school forever unless he saves the universe, a mean bully wants to kill him because he’s dating the bully’s ex-girlfriend, and he runs a website where he reviews…music. And, yes, Josh Hutcherson was in The Hunger Games
Ione (Spencer Locke) – A mindless cheerleader with a head that’s a steel trap for knowledge of 90s music, her passion for it claims Clapton’s heart. Ione used to be best friends with Riley until she suddenly change and Clapton became her man despite knowing of Riley’s crush. I think I enjoyed Spender Locke’s performance the most of all the actors, her portrayal of airheaded knowledge made you think she could keep up with the 90s reference zingers while still throwing around retro dance moves.
Principal Verge (Dane Cook) – The embittered and scarred principal of the high school, who has become the embodiment of hate for the student body. Anyone who falls behind becomes the problem that he needs to solve, permanently.
Time Traveling Mascot Bear (Himself) – Okay, I couldn’t find a good picture of the bear, but I already wrote this and am lazy. The mascot for Grizzly Lake High School is a stuffed grizzly bear that’s been there forever, and one of the characters turns it into a time travel device. Also the bear was probably sent here by aliens. Maybe.