Study Hell

Dir: Mark McNabb
Star: Steve McDougall, Lindsay Dell, Brian Austin Jr., Ryan Fisher

If you've been craving a slasher remake of The Breakfast Club, boy, have we got a film for you. Of course, we also have a strait-jacket for you - and you'd likely end up sharing a padded-cell with McNabb, the writer, director and producer of this mediocre effort. Former soldier Don Keller (McDougall) is now a high-school teacher, but taunting from one pupil pushes Keller off the deep-end, on the night he's given custody of five kids for detention, so possesses the keys to the school and, for no readily-explained reason, a store cupboard of weapons. Inevitably, said children are a microcosm of school life: the jock, the nerd, the dopehead, the Goth chick and the prom princess. Or, if you prefer: Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald.

Did the makers think no-one would notice? One can only presume so, given the all but total absence of wit to suggest this is a sly parody - I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing Sheedy get it in the neck. This feels more like a sophomore drama project than a real movie. It's very clearly Canadian (most of the entertaiment we had here, was in echoing the characters, every time they said "oot", "aboot", etc.), and we were forced to wonder what recent war, apparently involving napalm and a fertile, green landscape, saw our bilingual northern neighbours in action. Drew a blank on that one. It may be significant that we ended up speculating on this, rather than being distracted by anything the film had to offer, as precious little entertainment is to be found there. The actor playing the janitor is slightly-less irritating than everyone else. There: I found something nice to say about the movie. My job here is done.

[The film is released in the US on October 30th. For more information, visit MTI's website.]

October 2007

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