The story goes a little something
like this, random pupils are given detention for all manner of offences;
from smoking in the corridor, inadvertently obtaining a fellow classmates
calculator or just standing talking to your friends by your locker.
However, we only need five kids in this detention, so the two friends
you were talking to are let off as they made it out of screenshot just
in time, and if you are bullying another student your two accomplices
will inexplicably be let off as well.
This is no ordinary detention
either, this one will take place after school, as is often the case,
but this one will go on late into the night; plenty of time for all
kinds of nastiness to take place. This is especially true being as Don
Weaver, who is the teacher that is taking the detention, is a retired
Army Captain with past mental and marital problems who has absolutely
no control whatsoever over the students. In fact that is why he has
been given the responsibility of taking this detention. It was either
that or fire him, not that that makes any real sense to me. I mean he
canít control the kids but is left in charge of the school and the
welfare of five pupils after hours?
Anyway I digress, as not long
in the detention we get a glimpse of Donís true colors as he loses
his temper with one of the troublemakers. Then, a short altercation
with the janitor later, and all hell is ready to break loose as Don
goes on a rampage and tries to kill all the naughty schoolchildren. So now it is up to them to
try and escape. Throw into all this some back-story
here and there that tries to explain everything and you have a very
If any of this sounds a little
familiar it is probably because it is, there isnít really an original
bone in this moviesí body. The cast of students is almost a carbon
copy of The Breakfast Club; you have the nerd, the quiet weird girl,
the slut, the bad-ass and the other non-descript kid. I can only guess
that this is intentional, at least I hope it is.
There really isnít anything
good I can say about Study Hell; the acting was atrocious, indeed it
seemed as though some of the cast had trouble remembering their lines,
the script was poor at best and the direction was totally directionless.
Itís not often that I cringe whilst watching a movie, but this was
one of those occasions. In fact the only enjoyable parts of it for me
was the performance of Steve McDougall, as Don Weaver, who at least
managed to throw a little gusto into his role, and actually came across
as quite unhinged at times. The other part I enjoyed were the outtakes
during the closing credits, which at least showed that they had a good
time making the blasted thing, even if I didnít enjoy watching it.
Study Hell is a very poor movie
that fails as a horror movie with its lack of scares, tension or discernible
gore (when the blood does come it is quite unconvincing), it also fails
as a very dark black comedy, as I think that with some work done to
the script this is what is could have turned out to be. As it turns
out it just fails on all levels, which is a real shame as it did have
the potential to be real cheesy gem.
Rating - *
- Jude Felton