Juvenile Bedlam: The Bad Kids of Crestview Academy Return! ~ What'cha Reading?

Juvenile Bedlam: The Bad Kids of Crestview Academy Return!

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Bad Kids of Crestview AcademyIn Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, written by Barry Wernick and James R. Hallam (and based on their graphic novel Bad Kids Go 2 Hell), Siouxsie, whose sister died four years earlier in Bad Kids Go to Hell, crashes a Saturday detention reserved for the privileged seniors of Crestview Prep.  It’s not long before the assorted archetypes gathered find themselves locked-up in school with no way out (as in the first film), and one by one they are killed in amusingly gory ways.

Crestview reminds me a lot of Clint Eastwood’s sequel, Any Which Way You Can, to his orangutan-buddy pic  and box-office behemoth Every Which Way But Loose; technically superior to the carelessly slapped together first film, but simply not as novel, as it pretty much covers familiar ground.  The filmmakers must have sensed this, as while Crestview was clearly funded on the cult success of Bad Kids Go To Hell, they concede that most of the universe still hasn’t seen the original, ergo a title hinting that viewing the original is not essential, which it isn’t. Actor turned director Ben Browder (Farscape), who plays a role in both films, keeps things moving well enough, and Crestview offers enough gross-out horror and teen comedy to keep viewers engaged, repeating the Breakfast Club meets Friday the 13th premise of the first (it is a nifty premise).

Crestview, however, doesn’t offer enough non-recycled garden-fresh components to promote it to the classic pantheon of high school horror where Heathers and Massacre at Central High lastingly reside. While the use of self-referential animated comic book panels gives it some flair, I found them maddening in Walter Hill’s DVD do-over of his classic The Warriors, and they are bothersome here, as they seem more post-production desperation  to cover over some patchy spots than creative modernism.

Special Effects guru Spat Oktan applying the finishing touches to a Bad kids victim.

The young characters are all archetypes, which works well in the genre trappings, especially since The Breakfast Club traded in similar archetypes.The leads, including Sammi Hanratty as the enigmatic  Souxsie, Drake Bell, Sufe Bradshaw, Colby Arps, Sophia Taylor Ali, and Erika Daly, play their parts with relish and energy. A game Sean Astin plays Headmaster Nash (portrayed by Judd Nelson, a more overt Breakfast nod, in the first movie), and Gina Gershon shows up long enough to be a Name On The DVD cover (or in the V.O.D. menu, as it were). There is some fun in the nasty shenanigans, and some welcome unembellished old-school practical gore effects by Spat Oktan; Bad Kids of Crestview Academy is an equitable choice for a rainy day exploitation film diversion, but twice to the well may prove enough. Now a horror film where the original cast of Breakfast Club is reunited, with one of them picking off the rest in gory set pieces?  I’d buy that for a dollar!

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About Author

James Kenney reviews film for What’cha Reading? and is an editor and film reviewer at QueensFreePress. He writes fiction for Hooked, an iPad application featured on TechCrunch, Fast Company, Business Insider and CNNMoney, won a New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship for his screenplay Secret Vienna, and has a pilot, The Whip, in development at Spike TV. He is an English Lecturer at Queensborough Community College as well as Bronx Community College, and lives in Queens New York with his wife and two children. You can follow James on twitter @jfkenney and check out more of his reviews on http://www.queensfreepress.com/author/jkenney/

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  1. Pingback: Meet Special Effects, Costume, Propmaker, & SciFi/Comic Convention Coordinator Spat Oktan! ~ What'cha Reading?

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