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Joseph Kahn
Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Spencer Locke, Parker Bagley, Brooke Haven, Walter Perez
Writing Credits:
Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo

Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook and Spencer Locke star in Detention, a hipster, teen horror-comedy where the local students of Grizzly Lake must survive their final year of high school. Standing in their way is Cinderhella, a slasher-movie killer who has seemingly come to life and is preying on the school's student body. As the clock ticks and the bodies pile up, the likely suspects are embroiled in a race against time to stop Cinderhella and ultimately save the word ... if only they can get out of detention.

Box Office:
$10 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
German DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $30.99
Release Date: 7/31/2012

• “Cheat Mode: The Unbelievably Mind Melting Making of Detention On-Screen Display
• Fight Rehearsal
• “Riffing with Dane” Featurette
• Screen Tests
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Detention [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 24, 2012)

A decidedly unusual comedy-horror flick, 2012’s Detention takes us to Grizzly Lake High School – and quickly presents the violent death of self-important “teen queen” Taylor Fisher (Alison Woods). The costumed killer then goes after nerdy, unpopular Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell), but no one believes her, even though the attacker bears an awfully close resemblance to movie villain Cinderhella.

And no one seems to care other than to argue about who should be the logical target of a crazed murderer. Life continues as normal until the murder of football player Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley) leads Principal Verge (Dane Cook) takes extreme measures and forces anyone vaguely connected to the incident to attend Saturday detention. There the students must deal with the impending threat of this copycat killer.

I’ll say this for Detention: at least it branches beyond the expected Scream-style semi-spoof. Watch the opening sequence and its “Scream on Red Bull” feel and you’ll expect the rest of the film to remain in that kind of post-post-post-modern vein, a parody many generations removed, each more ironic than the last.

But after the Screan-lite launch, things get weirder, weirder, and weirder still. Incoherent-weird at times, with more than a few moments that never quite make much sense; they seem to exist to match odd genre affections but not much else.

Actually, much of the first half flies by like that, as we find tons of “what the heck is going on?” sequences, most of which seem to be kooky-for-its-own-sake. But in a twist more bizarre than the general premise, these eventually mostly come together. What seems utterly random and too-hipster-for-its-own-good – like one character’s odd obsession with 1992 – turns out to make bizarre sense by the end.

Which is why I had to constantly reassess my opinion of Detention as it progressed. If the movie remained as random as it seemed in the first half, this would’ve been a complete pan of the film. So much of the movie came across as excessively glib and hip that it got annoying, and the apparent incoherence was a distraction; often times it felt like someone took random parts of Scream, Donnie Darko and a mix of John Hughes movies, chopped them up and reassembled them as Detention.

But damn if it doesn’t kind of come together in the end. Yeah, it doesn’t tie together all the loose ends, but it connects enough of these to reward the viewer for the patience to sit through its first half. Heck, it borders on true cleverness and not just pop nonsense by the time it finishes.

I’m still not sure I’d call Detention a good movie, though. Maybe this is the generation gap calling, but it’s just so obsessed with its own self-referential coolness that it can grate even when it finally delivers reasonable narrative coherence. Also, it embraces so many clichés that it can be tough to tell what’s actually bad and what’s parody.

Still, I respect the film’s ambition and think it ultimately coalesces well enough to get a guarded recommendation. Detention is way too weird and disjointed for more than that, but its attempt to be different scores points, and it eventually entertains in its own strange manner.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Detention appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not bad, the image tended to be erratic.

Sharpness was one of the up and down elements. Much of the flick demonstrated positive delineation, but more than a few somewhat soft shots appeared; these mostly occurred during interiors, which tended to seem a little fuzzy. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I noticed no signs of edge haloes or print flaws, either.

Given its ambition, Detention came with a mix of palette choices. They could be stylized ala modern horror movies or they could be day-glo 1992 peppy. The film replicated all the color options well. Blacks were somewhat inky, though, and shadows could seem moderately dense; low-light shots tended to be a bit mushy. The movie remained attractive enough for a “B-“, but that was as high a grade as I could give to it.

I felt more consistently pleased with the occasionally hyperactive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Detention. A genre-spanning piece of lunacy, the mix had enough action/sci-fi scenes to use the five channels well. Enough of the movie concentrated on the more low-key teen relationship side of things to mean that the track didn’t boast consistent theatrics, but we find plenty of sequences that placed active elements all around the room. These melded together smoothly and offered a good sense of the action.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was dynamic and bold, while effects showed good range and clarity. Speech came across as concise and crisp. All of this resulted in a solid soundtrack.

A few extras round out the package. The biggest attraction comes from a picture-in-picture piece called Cheat Mode: The Unbelievably Mind Melting Making of Detention. This combines outtakes, auditions, photos from the shoot, behind the scenes text and interviews. In the latter, we hear from co-writer/co-producer Mark Palermo, director/co-writer Joseph Kahn, composers Brain and Melissa, stunt coordinator/fight choreographer Don Theerathada, and actors Alison Woods, Shanley Caswell, Aaron David Johnson, Josh Breeding, Josh Hutcherson, Spencer Locke, Tiffany Boone, Dane Cook, Marque Richardson II, James Black, Jonathan Park, Yves Bright, Walter Perez, and Erica Shaffer. The comments cover aspects of the story and characters, cast/performances, themes and influences, sets, locations and production design, stunts and various effects, music, pacing and style, and some other filmmaking notes.

Nearly as hyperactive as the film itself, “Cheat Mode” delivers a pretty terrific picture-in-picture commentary. It gets into virtually all relevant aspects of the production and does so in rapid-fire fashion. This occasionally threatens to become too much, but it never does, so it ends up as a strong examination of the movie.

Next we get Fight Rehearsal footage. This reel runs two minutes, 18 seconds and shows stunt performers as they work through the movie’s climactic battle. It offers a fairly interesting glimpse of this side of things.

Under Riffing with Dane, we get four minutes, 19 seconds of outtakes. In these, we essentially see a gag reel that focuses on Cook. It ends up as a mix of goofs/giggles and some alternate takes.

Finally we locate eight minutes, three seconds of Screen Tests. These involve “Shanley Caswell and Yves Bright” (1:26), “Shanley Caswell” (5:00) and “Shanley Caswell and Aaron David Johnson” (1:37). Footage like this is always fun to see, so this becomes a good collection.

The disc opens with ads for Meeting Evil and Starship Troopers: Invasion. These also appear under Previews. No trailer for Detention pops up here.

One of the weirdest movies I’ve seen in a while, Detention goes far beyond its “Scream update” veneer to present something unique. It takes a while to create an impact, but it eventually becomes a surprisingly entertaining experience. The Blu-ray comes with erratic but usually fine visuals, good audio and a few useful bonus materials. I can’t guarantee you’ll like Detention, but I’m pretty sure you won’t see anything else like it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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