J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy: Back in Detention

Remember high school, where kids learn to grow up and cover-up their own murders? That is how things work at Crestview. The family income levels are sky-high, but not so much the life expectancies. This is especially true for wrong-side-of-the-tracks “undercrust” students, like Siouxsie Hess and her sister Alyson—her late sister Alyson. When Hess schemes her way into detention to find out who was responsible for her death, soulless entitled brats start dying like flies in Ben Browder’s Bad Kids of Crestview Academy (trailer here) which opens this Friday in New York.

Yes, this is indeed the sequel to Bad Kids Go to Hell that nobody expected. Fear not, this is a whole new class of sociopaths, but the same bad karma still hangs over Crestview. There is some seriously sinister business going on in the background, but Browder only gives us glimpses. Instead, he focuses on the And Then There Were None day in detention. For fans of the first film and the graphic novels on which they are based, poor old Matt Clark is currently cooling his heels in a criminal asylum for the mass murders he did not commit, but it is probably safer for him there.

Thanks to a hacker-for-hire, Hess will be sharing senior detention with Blaine Wilkes, the senator’s son with serious mother issues, Faith Jackson, the promiscuous daughter of the senator’s “spiritual advisor,” coked-up gay playboy, Brian “Latin Spice” Marquez, and sexually confused, cat video-loving Sara Hasegawa. All four were somehow involved in Alyson Hess’s murder. Collectively, they also start dying during detention, which makes Siouxsie Hess the logical suspect.

Although it can’t keep up with Joseph Kahn’s wildly frenetic Detention, Browder (probably best known as the lead in Farscape) sustains an admirably high energy level. He also embraces the franchise’s black humor and sarcastic attitude. There is truly no place for good taste or restraint at Crestview.

With that in mind, Sammi Hanratty is really remarkably poised as Siouxsie Hess, the film’s primary pinball. She keeps her head and maintains the audience’s focus amid a whole lot of chaos. Erika Daly also earns points for making Hasegawa’s naivete so weirdly distinctive. Speaking of weird, Browder gamely reprises his original role as the anti-social school janitor, Max. However, Gina Gershon upstages everyone as the flamboyantly evil and tart-tongued Sen. Wilkes.

Crestview Academy is not at the inspired level of Detention or The Final Girls, but it still makes dead teenagers pretty darn funny. If only The Breakfast Club had been as rude and subversive. Recommended for fans of warped horror comedies, The Bad Kids of Crestview Academy opens this Friday (1/13) in New York, at the Cinema Village.

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