Review: Detention (2011)

There are a few things I long for in life. Love, a writing career, money, a nice house...and to see annoying people in horror movies. I'm looking at you, Shane Dawson. Smiley promised me something that it could never deliver, which was your head and/or guts displayed prominently separate from your body. But we'll talk about that movie more later this month. Today we're going to talk about a movie that stars another celebrity that often annoys many people. Dane Cook. Oh yes, there are his major fans and then there are the people who want to see him fade away like Andrew Dice Clay. Me, I don't love him, nor do I really despise him. He's just a comedian who, at moments, has made me laugh a bit and also made me stare off stone-faced waiting for the punchline other times. But damn if the prospect of seeing him getting killed doesn't interest me.

Go watch Simon Sez and you will want desperately to see him die on film too.

So, as you can imagine, when I heard he was one of the cast in a slasher film I was quite interested. True, it's not exactly new, but I won't lie that I occasionally overlook movies from time to time. I stay pretty busy, so it's easy to do in between applying for jobs I'll never get and trying desperately to comb through the smouldering wreckage that is my living space. I often forget to eat meals. But yes, not only is Cook here to hopefully be a victim but also we have Josh Hutcherson, who I can only assume decided to make a horror movie to make up for the pain Bridge to Terabithia caused me. Thank you, Josh, the gesture is appreciated.

"I finally recovered and made Battle R...I mean, The Hunger Games. Now I have a career again."
Our story starts in a rather meta sort of way as we are greeted by a girl named Taylor Fisher who is apparently not only the most popular girl in school but also a BITCH, which stands for: Beauty Intelligence Talent Charisma Hoobastank. Also, she's a bitch in general who yells arbitrarily at her brother and mother for now good reason. I really hope she's not out heroine because she'll be about as hard to root for as the kid from Return to Sleepaway Camp who the movie couldn't seem to decide whether he was misunderstood or just a fat gross asshole. She's a cheerleader who also seems to love a slasher film series known as Cinderhella, which is a bit odd as most cheerleaders I knew hated horror movies. Also, happily, it turns out that Taylor is not our protagonist as she is murdered in the middle of her fourth wall breaking morning routine by a killer resembling Cinderhella.

Her mom will probably need to wash the car, there's dead cheerleader all over it.
Next we find out way into the room of another girl who is undoubtedly meant to be our actual heroine (unless this is Feast rules and they're going to throw red herrings at us like crazy). Her name is Riley Jones and she's just your average cynical outcast vegetarian loser who seems to be somewhat suicidal. I say somewhat as she can't seem to follow through with the whole dying part, so clearly she's not really into the idea. She also has a poster above her bed of the only person she considers to be a bigger loser than herself, a girl who blew the stuffed bear school mascot in 1992. She misses her bus and basically goes through all sorts of hell as she gets to school. At school we get a basic introduction of the other characters in a pretty organic way as we see them all doing what they do around school, including our lead boy, Clapton Davis. He's a hipster guy that skateboards and is pretty well liked by everyone. Well, everyone except the jock that seems intent on brutalizing him for stealing his girlfriend, Ione Foster. She is Riley's former bestie, also a cheerleader, and apparently the new most popular girl in school after Taylor was killed. Meanwhile, Clapton's friend, Sander Sanderson, has a huge thing for Riley, but she's not interested as he's generally a huge creep.

I can just smell the angst and romantic tension oozing off of their moody teenage bodies.
Anyway, Billy (the jock) challenges Clapton to a fight after school...after he rips his locker door off. Yikes. And Principal Verge also doesn't like Clapton much as he's a shiftless slacker who has no ambition and happens to be dating the girl whose mother he longed for during his high school days. And yes, Verge is Dane Cook, here to be the Richard Vernon to our group of mismatched youths. He's also less annoying when he plays a moody principal, which is weird. He tells Clapton that he has to either get an A or save the world by prom or he's getting expelled. Groovy. Ione makes head cheerleader due to Taylor having a bad case of dead and our lead ends up as the mascot, because her life seems to work that way. She also loses her debate against killing animals for food to the Canadian exchange student, Gord, which leads her to question her beliefs regarding vegetarianism. She later tries to hang herself in front of the stuffed bear mascot, but gets cold feet and tries to reach her stool to save herself. This gets interrupted by the killer who she avoids the axe of a few times before it ends up cutting her down. After nearly being  choked to death instead, the bell rings and the killer books it as the hall fills with people who step over Riley like she's not even there.

A more accurate description of high school there is not.
Billy and Clapton's fight is interrupted by news of Taylor's murder and everyone ignores Riley when she says she was almost killed too. Not just then either, as she gets treated as if she's making it up when the killer attacks her once more at her house that night. Afterwards Clapton takes her cruising on his skateboard and he seems to like-like her in a way that may even rival that of Cru Jones' special relationship with whoever that annoying girl was that faded away as soon as the actual romantic interest showed up in Rad. This results in Riley going to the movies with him and Ione, because nothing says romance like a slasher movie and two girls who hate one another both wanting to bone you. Gord the asshole Canadian ruins Riley's night again and we find out how the two girls stopped being friends when Ione went after Clapton after saying Riley should go after him. Also Ione doesn't think Riley is popular enough to be stalked by a killer, so Cinderhella will clearly come after her because she is. One can only hope.

You know, I'm not sure she actually consulted Merriam-Webster for that definition.
Football happens and Billy the jock, it turns out, it actually some sort of human fly, but Riley doesn't believe him when he tells her this as it seems rather unbelievable. I mean, clearly his hands are sticky and he vomits acid because of steroids. Also, Ione says his semen glows in the dark and he is seen sprouting large course hairs on his hand and large fly wings grow out of his back during sex. Clearly he's juicing. Not that it really matters, as his interesting backstory isn't very important to the story when you consider he dies that night at Sander's party. To be fair, he puts up a pretty good fight and beats up the killer while having a television set stuck on his hand. Yeah, he punches the killer with a tv. This is one of the best moments in cinematic history, mark my words. But yeah, he sadly dies and his body is thrown down below in front of the members of the film's love triangle. Oh, also Riley is super wasted, because that's what you do when life goes to shit, and her breast ends up being exposed only to be recorded and posted online where the principal sees it. He calls it a snuff porno and decides that everyone in the video is a suspect, thus they all get detention.

You mean the title actually makes sense? And here I thought it was just trying to be clever.
Now, hold on to your asses, because here's where it gets weird. Apparently there's a kid in there that's been in detention since 1992 and her thinks Ione looks familiar. This is because she looks exactly like her mother...and because they switched places in the timestream so her mother could pretend to be her today and win a dance competition for her daughter. Oh yeah, and this was done via aliens. This explains why Ione did a complete 180 in terms of how she acts towards Riley. It also turns out that he's worked out an equation that says the universe is going to be destroyed back in 1992, thus negating all of existence. That's lovely. Oh, and the Canadian guy gets killed while they watch a pirated copy of the next Cinderhella movie for clues as to how they might be targeted. It turns out that the Asian genius in their midst, Toshiba, has been turning the mascot into a time machine (although according to a weird flashback it was an alien bear cyborg already) and Clapton and Sander have used it to go back in time somehow, so it's up to Riley to stop them from undoing existence.

Before that though we get to see the killer bury and axe in Dane Cook's chest. Yay!
She goes back and it turns out that Clapton was only there to get a good grade so he could stay in school. It also turns out that, big shocker, Sander is the badguy and is teaching young Verge how to properly build a bomb as a way of dealing with rejection. They get Sander but the bomb blows up and kills everyone anyway, so they get they better idea of going back again and find that the only reason Verge is building a bomb is due to Ione's mom rejecting him...except Ione's mom is in the modern day, so it's actually Ione. They tell her what is going to happen, she chokes back her sadness and asks Verge to the prom, they rush back to the time bear and end up finding out that Riley was the girl in her poster as the open door lever was between the bear's legs, Sander blows himself up because why not, and they return to find themselves at prom and also for things to be essentially better than when they left. Ione fell in love with Verge and gave birth to herself, the boring black guy isn't boring anymore, Verge is actually cool, the nerd and goth girl hold hands, and Clapton and Riley are a well-known and beloved couple. But it turns out Sander is still there due to time shenanigans resetting things and that he's still a psycho killer who offed Taylor and Billy. They fight him for a while, barely avoiding getting killed, until a minor plot point from the beginning regarding the bear time machine being magnetic comes back to bite him in the head.

Quite literally.
It seems everything is resolved and happy now, except for the fact that we close on the reveal that Gord the Canadian is actually an alien vegetable who is part of an invasion force that take great insult at the fact that vegans eat their cousins. That tofu doesn't taste so good now, does it, Riley? That's our movie, in a nutshell, and I gotta say I really dug it. It was a very creative twist on the slasher formula that threw a multitude of oddball shit at you but never in a way that was too confusing. I mean, it was weird and nonsensical at times, but it all ultimately made some sort of sense in the end. I really quite liked the cast too, from the likeable cynic Riley to even Dane Cook's Verge, they all seemed interesting and compelling in their own ways. Even the minor characters stood out and kept me interested in their part in the overall storyline.

That's right, I liked Dane Cook's performance in a movie. It shocked me too.
Kudos to Joseph Kahn and Mark Palermo for making this movie. You guys turned the slasher movie concept on its side and let it stay there, offering a different take on the idea by introducing nonsensical things in ways that strangely worked and just made me wonder even more where it was all heading. I was almost sad to see it come to an end and found myself curious as to how the alien invasion scenario would play out. This movie might not please you if you're just looking for a cheap slasher flick, but if you're looking for something a bit more then give it a shot. Creativity should be rewarded and this movie definitely fits that bill. So, until my love of eating meat guarantees me safety in the great veggie invasion, I'll be here asking myself if the world is ready for a movie where Dane Cook isn't completely awful. Later days, bleeders.

Now, someone go make a real Cinderhella movie, because I kinda want to see it.