Detention of the Dead
Pros: Characters are done rather well, liked the setting and ending
Cons: Really sub-par, doesn’t truly excel in areas that really count
Eddie (Jacob Zachar), a class nerd whom seems to be bullied quite often reports to after school detention, and here he runs into a few classmates along with two of his bullies. Another student reports to the classroom with what appears to be a bite wound. From here the bitten student goes on a rampage and the group realizes their school is under attack by a zombie plague. -summary
Released in 2012 and directed by Alex Craig Mann, Detention of the Dead isn’t only just another zombie-comedy, but also another zombie-comedy that merges the undead with John Hughes coming of age classic The Breakfast Club. Indeed, this idea had been done before and far better in Dance of the Dead directed by Gregg Bishop. This movie manages to work pretty well within its setting, unfortunately it’s less than sub-par when dealing with the zombies and comedy. This movie falls short of even being marginally decent if you’re not real easy to please.
It really doesn’t take long at all for things to get going. The motley crew of students quickly realize that their school has been overrun by zombie classmates, and their goal is to make it inside the school library and barricade themselves. They accomplish this task and from there they begin to bond; this is when the flick spins its wheels quite often.
Mann draws heavily on John Hughes’ film as he attempts to build his characters by addressing the usual teenage angst ridden situations; for the most part I can say these characters are somewhat likeable at least, and at times their actions can be well understood. I give Mann props for at least attempting to deliver characters worth caring about, but their interactions can be a bit too long and the zombie element is heavily underutilized. The only purpose the zombies serve is as an outside threat. There really aren’t many hair-raising moments or much over the top comedy. In fact, I hardly ever laughed at the supposed comedy.
I can’t stress enough on how poorly worked the zombie element was; at least two characters had vast knowledge on dealing with zombies due to them apparently being well versed with the films. I can’t recall much about this knowledge being put to entertaining use though, which is really shameful because this opened doors to some nice possibilities. The movie gives off an illusion as if it’s going somewhere, yet it’s still in the same place as it was before. The zombie encounters were standard fare with very little in way of imagination.
The zombie encounters rarely provide any sort of pay off; the clashes against them and gore effects are far below average. I will give some credit to this movie though. I did like the make up job on the zombies; they did have that raging flesh eating appeal to them. I thought the acting for a movie of this type was good. The actors are definitely experienced and worked well with what they had. However, I enjoyed the setting taking place inside the school most. Mann worked well here in establishing some type of belief that Lincoln High School library was the safest place to be and all was indeed lost, in which this works great into the ending.
When looking at numerous results on Detention of the Dead; it amazes me that some people I know enjoyed it so much. I personally believe that many of them were just starving for at least a watchable zombie flick, and I can understand this since there really aren’t many out there that should even be bothered with. I only recommend this to zombie fans whom haven’t already watched zombie flicks such as The Horde, Dead Snow, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, The Dead, Flight of the Living Dead, and even Dance of the Dead. Try not to land yourself in this detention hall too soon.