Growing up, one of my favorite non-horror 80s movies was THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Like many others of my generation, even back then I recognized the high school caste system that was in place and the ridiculousness of it; John Hughes simply brought this out in the open, for the less-knowing masses to see. Anchor Bay’s latest release DETENTION OF THE DEAD takes this high school hierarchy a step further and brings zombies into the mix. The result is a hilarious horror romp that entertains on several levels.
If you are not familiar with DETENTION OF THE DEAD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:
THE BREAKFAST CLUB meets ZOMBIELAND in this head-busting zombedy. A group of teenagers trapped in detention fight for survival after their classmates turn into a ravenous zombie horde. Can a stoner, a jock, a bully, a goth, and a nerd put aside their differences for one night to take on the undead? Will they live to see the morning? Fat chance! This is High School after all.
I am impressed with this film for several reasons. This could have been a disaster, given the somewhat cheesy premise, but director Alex Craig Mann makes sure the movie never takes itself too seriously and keeps the action flowing at a nice pace. The film looks great, the actors are top notch, and the production value appears high overall. In short, this is a damn good zombie flick.
One major reason for DETENTION OF THE DEAD’s success is the acting. Each actor skillfully portrays their stereotyped character with great ease. From the arrogant, bullying jock, to the self-centered cheerleader, to the dorky, big-hearted geek…every level of high school society is represented here in a monumental way.
Another reason is the special effects. The zombies look great and the gore is fantastic. I am particularly impressed with the carnage, as I don’t believe any good living dead flick should be without some gore. And the production team doesn’t spare much expense. There’s even a horrific zombie rat!!
DETENTION OF THE DEAD is a major win for me and I think every zombie fan should check it out. It is a film that knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to be anything but funny and horrifying. If you like SHAUN OF THE DEAD, I will wager you will like this one. The film hits store shelves next week, so give it a look.