On Second Thought: “Detention of the Dead”

There’s something enjoyable about films that poke fun at the exact genre they are in themselves. Mostly it’s because they’re not all together good, but not entirely bad like that of a film you’d see on SyFy. For this particular film, it helps that it’s a comedy that doesn’t try to take itself too seriously whilst making fun of other films.

On a similar level with “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil”, the film “Detention of the Dead” aims to make fun of the zombie film genre, or so it seems.

The film was written and directed by Alex Craig Mann and is based on the play of the same name by Rob Rinow.

This comedy horror film stars Jacob Zachar (“Project: SERA”, “Greek”), Alexa Nikolas (The Walking Dead”, “Zoey 101”), Christa B. Allen (“Revenge”, ” Deadly Sibling Rivalry”), Jayson Blair (“The New Normal”, “The Hard Times of RJ Berger”), Justin Chon (“Innocent Blood”, “21 & Over”), and Max Adler (“Switched at Birth”, “Glee”).

The film had a very limited release on June 28, 2013 and made its way to DVD on July 23 of that year.

I don’t think this film fails from using the stereotypes, always seen in teen movies, or horror movies for that matter, but it delights in this usage. It embraces it. The jock, popular girl, who’s a cheerleader, the nerd, the goth, and the stoner. Oh look, the cast of “The Breakfast Club” in a zombie movie! That’s kind of what it seems like, but then again, you could say that about the comedy “The Perfect Score”, minus the zombies.

It’s because of this embrace that the film manages to work with the comedy. While some do fall into their category, some have a little more to offer. In one scene Allen’s character is trying to convince herself all is well and she’s still the best. “Look at you. You are way too hot to die.” Allen’s character says.

Another perfect element that makes this film funny is that two of the characters love zombie movies and have seen every single one. That and they manage to ooze a little Randy Meeks from “Scream”, and mention what not to do based on every horror movie. While funnier than that of what’s used in “The Faculty”, there’s no denying the similarities with that. Although, I think it’s become a thing in real life to always talk about what you would or would not do in a horror movie.

For me, I think it helped that the smaller scenes, between the action, helped to humanize these characters a bit, and allow them to be themselves. This led to some pretty funny moments that worked because of the material given to these actors. I really could not stop laughing at what was going on.

While this film was pretty funny, even the second time around, when everything was still pretty fresh from the first time, it still suffered from the same things that I found disliking; even if they still illicit a pretty hearty bout of laughter.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, that a film with high school students at the center of it, would dedicate a few scenes to some sexual situations. It’s practically a given or something simply expected. Without it, this film would seem weird. Yes, this brilliant take on a zombie movie had to resort to sexual jokes. As childish, and unfortunate as it seems, there was no stopping the laughter. It’s like the kind of laughter you give to the less than funny “Scary Movie IV” or “Date Movie” or any of those other spoof movies, that flooded the market after the success of “Scary Movie”.

The next thing that really hampers my like of this is Allen’s hair. I know that’s really sad, if not stupid, but it’s not without merit. The wig, I’m assuming it is as she’s normally sporting dark brown hair for “Revenge”, looks like a wig. It’s so bad that it’s almost distracting. Okay, it is distracting. It could be she doesn’t look good with blonde hair in general. Sadly, it makes sense that she would need to be blonde, as cheerleaders are blonde.

Sure it seemed silly for me to be laughing at this stuff, considering it wasn’t all that clever. It was clever enough, but that’s it. Maybe it’s my love of these types of movies, particularly zombie films, but I found it plenty enjoyable.


One thought on “On Second Thought: “Detention of the Dead”

  1. Pingback: On Second Thought: "Detention of the Dead" | Tinseltown Times

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