In Theatres: 
Apr 13, 2012
Running Time: 
89 min

Detention opens April 13th at AMC Southlake Pavillion 24 in Morrow, Ga. Check local listings to see where Detention is playing nearest to you.

 There are five things Hollywood stresses to never do in your film: Don't work with kids. Don't work with animals. Don't make a rated R movie about high school. Don't make a rated R movie. Don't put your own financing into the film's budget. Director Joseph Kahn did each and every one of these for his film, Detention. In a way, that kind of describes what Detention is: A no holds barred movie that refuses to follow any guidelines. 

In Grizzly Lakes, life couldn't be harder. With not being able to get the attention of her crush, a crazed killer with a fascination for a popular horror icon is murdering students left and right and, worst of all, Prom is coming up, no one would blame Riley (Shanley Caswell) for wanting to kill herself. Unfortunately, no one would bat an eye. Students come and go at Grizzly High but the students are too focused on their own issues and their cell phones to care. As the murders become more frequent, Principal Verge (Dane Cook) issues Riley, Clapton (Josh Hutcherson), Sander (Aaron David Johnson) and a handful of their classmates saturday detention as to contain the killer in a room and not ruin his school's prom. Throughout this session of detention, the Grizzly Lake students learn more about each other that unravels a series of events none of them expected. Time traveling bears, fly-infused DNA and a few nip slips are just the beginning for these students and the night isn't near over. 

I couldn't think of a harder movie to describe than Detention. Detention is a crazed bat-out-of-hell. An unforgiving piece of satire of it's own kind. In a genre of it's own, Joseph Kahn's project is a fusion of every genre you could imagine. For that, it couldn't be more brilliant. High school is a mix of all different types of students: the jocks, nerds, goths, populars, off-the-radars and, of course, the cheerleaders. Making a high school film one specific genre would only appeal to one fraction of the school's roster. By fusing various genres together, Joseph Kahn has crafted an fantasticly insane experiment in film. I dislike mixing films together to explain an individual film's feel, but Ill make an exception for Detention seeing as it is truly unlike anything I've ever seen before. Imagine if Wes Craven directed The Breakfast Club and let Scott Pilgrim's Edgar Wright shoot it. That's about as close of a description to Detention as we're going to get. 

In a world full of teens who can never seem to look up from their cell phones, Detention seems like the perfect movie to show them that movies aren't just for the cliche'. Original filmmaking and writing still exist and can reign supreme, in terms of style and performance. That said, Detention is not just a film for those gossip-fueled teens. Anyone who has spent more than an hour on the internet is bound to find some genuine moments of joy. With references ranging from Torque (Joseph Kahn apologizes greatly) to Freejack, nerds across the world can rejoice in the understanding of their own humor. it helps that Kahn, a self-appointed geek, co-wrote the film with good friend Mark Palermo. The writing in Detention will be reflected on as a tribute to Juno, when in reality, teenagers actually talk like this. High schools are a new and different place. Make no mistake, Detention is it's own beast and wears the title proudly throughout the 89 minute runtime. 

Before The Hunger Games was an option, Detention was the biggest project Josh Hutcherson was attached to. It's funny: Hutcherson does great work in Hunger Games, but Detention is where he really proves himself as an actor. There's a rhythm to each sentence, each word and it couldn't have been easy to adapt to that style of acting quickly. Hutcherson is extremely believable as a cocky cool kid with an obsession for 1993. But he's not alone. Shanley Caswell is fantastic as Riley Jones, the tiniest blip on the Grizzly High radar. Aaron David Johnson plays Sander, a eccentric geek who can't seem to connect past his own movie/music references. Besides Hutcherson as Clapton Davis, Johnson might be the highest praise Detention will get for it's acting. He weaves in and out of crazy and geeky. Pretty impressive for an actor with a next to zero resume'. Even Dane Cook plays the role of Principal Verge with ease, joking his way out of each and every awkward student encounter. I'm not the world's largest Cook fan, but his role is Detention won me over instantly. 

Even the music involved seem to fit the film perfectly. This benefits greatly from Kahn having an impressive past of directing popular music videos. Throughout the entirety of Detention, audiences will hear music ranging from Hanson to 50 Cent to Backstreet Boys. Hey, I said nothing about stability having any part in it. 

Walking out of my theater for Detention, it was hard not to smile and think about the intricate and complex layers Joseph Kahn has crafted for audiences. Detention is going to be a hard sell for most people because, quite frankly, it is a creation of it's own. Which is a shame, for Detention is one of the most fun experiences I've ever had in a theater. It's a well needed reminder that we really shouldn't take everything so seriously. After all, it's only high school. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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