Imagine you’ve been called in on a Saturday of all days for detention with a whole bunch of different archetypal characters! Sounds like a coming of age John Hughes film right? In actual fact, Bad Kids Go To Hell bypasses the schmaltzy path and goes straight for the gory bloodbath option. Six students from Crestview Academy begin to meet horrible fates as they serve out their detentions on a stormy Saturday afternoon.
Bad Kids Go To Hell has a tight, ensemble cast with some young, up-and-coming stars. Amanda Alch plays Megan, the know-it-all geek girl, Marc Donato plays Tarek, the smart, mysterious Arab guy, Augie Duke playing Veronica, the hard-core goth chick, Roger Edwards playing Craig, the popular jock, Ali Faulkner playing Tricia, the perfect, blonde coke-head and finally Cameron Deane Stewart playing the main character Matt, the new “bad boy” of the school. This ensemble cast is assisted by Farscape’s Ben Browder, who plays the bumbling school janitor and of course, Judd Nelson who ironically plays the role of Headmaster Nash.
The film opens with Matt on his way to detention on a Saturday. As the cast are introduced and taken into the creepy detention hall, the characters quickly find themselves arguing amongst themselves about whether or not the hall is haunted. A series of events takes places triggering the revelation of the secrets these “bad kids” have tried so hard to hide from one another.
The twist in film is that the horror is not in fact found in the ghosts that haunt the hall, or the sound effects or even by the fact that they have no logical way of escape from the building. The horror is actually inherent in the kids themselves.
It is evident the creators were keen to avoid many of the cliches apparent in too many horror films and haven’t taken themselves or the genre too seriously. Overall the film is well developed and has a strong storyline, it is held together particularly well by the performances of these young stars.
The music score is fantastic; clearly thought out and perfectly in tune with the theme of the movie and serves to draw the audience into action. It can however be overpowering at times and hinders our ability to connect with some of the characters on a deeper level. In terms of character development, certain nuances are easy to miss and therefore make it difficult to fully understand each individual character. From chatting to the creators, it’s evident that they do understand the motivations and compulsions of the characters but some of this understanding hasn’t transcended the final edit ensuring the ending isn’t as explosive as it might have been otherwise.
Given the great mix of humor and horror (neither of which is overdone) this film would be recommended for teenagers (probably over 15 considering the bits of gore) and twenty-something’s.
In terms of a horror film, “Bad Kids Go To Hell” was a notch above the rest. While the scenario these kids are put in might seem all too familiar, the storyline certainly is not. A mix between great acting and a great storyline makes it an engaging psychological horror.