3 StarsThis zombie comedy gets a few things right that recent undead flicks missed on. For starters we have zombies right from the get go! Yes, the writers smartly choose the inciting incident at ten minutes in to be where the carnage begins. Rather than what’s been the more popular choice of the first turning point at thirty minutes in – which is simply too long to be waiting on zombies in a zombie movie. Detention of the Dead is being touted as a Breakfast Club with zombies, but it doesn’t come close. DotD relies too heavily on stereotypes for its characters and, unlike the John Hughes’ classic, does little to break them down. That’s fine though, because as the title suggests, not a lot of these kids are gonna make it to tomorrow for breakfast anyhow.
A group of stereotypical teens are stuck in detention when the zombie apocalypse takes root in the halls of their high school. There’s a couple of jocks, a cheerleader, goth chick, an Asian stoner and our hero the nerd. From that mix you can probably figure out how the dynamics of this group winds up working out. The nerd wants the cheerleader, but the goth chick knows he’d be happier with her. The Asian stoner is a half token character (get it?) and basically acts cooky. The kids must work together to try to get out of the school without getting eaten alive.
The zombies here are the more classic Romero type. Slow but plentiful. Basically they’re not all that great at getting a hold of people, but through sheer numbers, never giving up and a little pure luck they do occasionally pick off one of the group. As with most of the undead, when the living stop fearing them they are more than capable of running through a horde and surviving, if not taking out most of them with simple weapons they find lying around. We’re talking guillotine paper cutters and pencils to the head.
Aside from great production value, an easy to consume plot and fun special effects, Detention of the Dead features a standout cast. You may recognize some of them – TV Revenge‘s Christa B. Allen as the cheerleader, TV Greek‘s Jacob Zachar as the nerd, TV Zoey 101 and The Walking Dead‘s Alexa Nikolas as the goth chick, TV The New Normal Jayson Blair as a jock, TV Glee‘s Max Adler as a jock and finally Twilight‘s Justin Chon.
If you like horror comedies then Detention of the Dead is right up your alley. It delivers on everything the title promises.
Director: Alex Craig Mann
Stars: Jacob Zachar, Alexa Nikolas, Christa B. Allen, Jayson Blair, Justin Chon, Max Adler