Detention - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Detention Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 29, 2012
"The movie is messy with a lot of random shit happening. I didn't mind it though. I found it stupid, but also entertaining and funny. The movie is meant to be the way it is. I can't express that enough to those who hate it so much. It doesn't try to be anything else but quirky and silly. Even the cast was a lot of fun and they all did well with their parts. I enjoyed it. It was good to see some gore and have a laugh too. It's probably not a film for everyone. If you liked Shawn of the Dead, then you might like this one. It's not nearly as good as Shawn of the Dead, but it is in the same family as that film."
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2012
I am fascinated by what this film is trying to be, failing at being, and actually is.
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2012
I literally have no idea what this film is trying to accomplish, and the story makes absolutely no sense, but honestly it was kind of fun to watch. Josh Hutcherson is clearly mis-casted in this film that is actually about nothing. It follows a bunch of cliched teenagers as they survive their final year of high school, while going back in time and switching bodies. Most of the time I had no clue what was going on so I found good in some of the dialogue, which was pretty funny at times. This is easily one of the worst films of 2012, but I had too much fun watching it and making fun of it to call it a disaster. It has some nice ideas but it needed an entirely different crew working on it. "Detention" sucks!
Mario M.
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2012
Veteran music video director and Torque helmer Joseph Khan is man with something to prove. First and foremost, he wants to prove that post-David Fincher/Scott brother music video directors can bring something to the table that goes beyond visually resplendent, originality free rehashes like (the admittedly good) Charlie Angels remake by Khan's contemporary McG. With Detention, his pop fantasia on pop deconstruction, Khan proves that's he's one of the few working American directors with an eye toward pushing the mainstream forward, even though he does quite have the cinematic chops to match his ambitions. Khan does succeed in proving that genre divisions are a thing of the past.

From its first moments, Detention lets the audience know that it‚(TM)s not going to be a typical teen-horror comedy. We are introduced to Taylor, a Generation Y nightmare made from equal parts My Super Sweet Sixteen protagonist and Hipster Runoff article. She cheerfully berates her hapless family and potential hook ups while extolling her toxically narcissistic and hyper connected world view before being brutally murdered by a generic masked serial killer called Cinderhella. Khan demonstrates that he is aware of the simmering hatred that exists for particularly self-involved teenage girls and the dark satisfaction that comes from seeing them brutally, artfully murdered. From there we are introduced to a group of modernized high school stereotypes; Riley (Shanley Caswell), the kind of girl who goes to a costume party dressed as Angela Chase, Clapton (Josh Hutcherson), a boy with the personality of a young Matthew McConaughey and the taste of Pitchfork blogger, Ione (Spencer Locke) a fractal of a blonde cheerleader, and a lascivious nerd with omnicidal tendencies called Sander (Aaron David Johnson).

Kahn uses and abuses his cast in all the ways we've seen before in '80 teen comedies, Kevin Williamson's '90s output and post 9/11 indie cinema for the first third of the film before adding plot lines of a half dozen other genre movies in the margins of the film to increasingly dazzling effect. Clapton is menaced by an impossibly stupid jock (Parker Bagley) who is going through a Cornenbergian body horror arc. Riley's Heathers' influenced quips fall away when she‚(TM)s targeted by Cinderhella. Ione becomes the most popular girl in school pulling a Freaky Friday with her mother's teenage self who looks and acts exactly like her. Sander goes through an inversion of Donnie Darko's journey without the benefit of being as attractive as Jake Gyllenhaal. There are other genre types present such Dane Cook's youth hating principle and a few ethnic supporting players that have as minimal characterization, as is tradition but they're mostly window dressing to further underline the moral of most '80s teen comedies: destroy everything unique and unpleasant about yourself and you'll be happy. This thematic spine keeps the piece from falling into incoherence despite the disparate genre elements.

Outside of the carefully dissection of generic types, to which Khan makes the unoriginal judgment that they are not full of depth, he does score some points for his vaguely insightful view of teenage life. Khan gives his kids broad cultural tastes that range from worshiping Patrick Swayze movies to a communal interest in watching the latest torture porn movie. They all speak in Williamson-ian hyper articulation and meta awareness with a presentational style that recalls in her prime Winona Ryder. These elements give the impression that Khan drew inspiration from his own youth rather than the throngs of Katy Perry loving youngsters that Khan makes videos for. But some things are timeless, like parties where the host demands that no one uses the toilet or the way inseparable friendships implode when mutual desire is introduced into the equation. These moments of adolescent pain and insecurity shine through all the layers of reference and sarcasm and hint that Khan has more going on than ‚look at how well I've studied the things I loved as a child‚?.

You can see Khan's enthusiasm and visual flair in sequences where a teenager lives through twenty years of changing musical and fashion trends in one beautiful 360 degree shot or how Khan subtly changes up how he films the movie depending on what genre he's playing with; lens flares and speed ramping for the horror scenes and color saturated medium and close shots for the romatic stuff. He also throws in a few bits of the fiery end-of-the-world terror, Glee style musical, and most enigmatically alien abduction conspiracy. This genre m√ (C)lange works best when Khan focuses on the fantastic, as shown in his music video work where he does spectacle well but he stumbles with it comes to crafting relatable characters. Because Khan fails to maintain a balance between pop fun and smaller moments of human interaction, he fails to successful crossover formats the way Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer and Mark Romanek. Detenetion is solid first effort but a first effort nonetheless.

At this point Khan has reached the level of Paul Hunter, Bryan Barber and Hype Williams, being an effective visual stylist who got to make one inventively directed, wildly uneven feature. Hunter, Barber and Williams all retreated back into the world of music videos with periodic threats to return to big screen film making with no success. Khan, with his anarchic tone, inarguable skills and ambition to prove that multiple genres can overlap without drowning each other out could find himself on par with Neveldine/Taylor or he could be the next Marcos Seiga, a man who directed one interesting film followed by a Ryan Reynolds drama and absolute nadir of any filmmaker's career, a Nick Cannon comedy. If he learns the right lessons from his first directorial effort and is selective about the material he works on next he'll make something amazing. If not, he'll be the third choice to direct Green Lantern 2.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2012
This movie is ridiculous. It doesn't have any story. It's disgustingly done still I ended up liking it. Yes, I liked it a lot. Don't expect anything (I mean it, anything) from this. If you're bored and just feel like watching something, see it.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2012
Felt like an offspring of Diablo Cody and Edgar Wright, and portrayed high school as if it were on speed and acid. Yet, I really enjoyed it for its meta-ness, countless pop-culture references, and never caring for how it hardly ever makes sense. Bound to be one of the biggest cult hits of this year!
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2013
In "Detention" Taylor Fisher(Alison Woods) might be a B.I.T.C.H., but that doesn't mean she deserves to be brutally killed like she was in a slasher movie. Otherwise, Sander(Aaron David Johnson) has the hots for Riley(Shanley Caswell) who has the hots for Clapton(Josh Hutcherson) who has a thing going with Ione(Spencer Locke) which is why Nolan(Parker Bagley) intends to beat up Clapton after school. All Mr. Kendall(Yves Bright) is interested in is somebody building him a time machine before class is over.

While "Detention" might be a mess, it is a glorious one that makes a sort of weird sense, even after it takes a good while to get started, succeeding as much as it does on pure chutzpah. What it basically involves is a lot of teenage movie tropes from the 80's being taken kicking and screaming to the present day with a stop in 1992 which everybody seems strangely obsessed with. What remains timeless are all the indignities that we all suffered through in high school, especially the part involving being forced to wear a bear costume.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2012
I've got no idea what I just witness in Detention. Detention is an odd film that despite having a very poorly written script and pacing was still enjoyable.

Detention has no central plot to speak or any real focus for that matter. We have aliens, a time-machine in a Bear statue, end of the world scenario, a time traveling plot point, a prom, some teenager with mutant traits, and a cow going into an alien spaceship all in one movie. One thing you'll probably notice upon viewing this is that it lacks logic, proper pacing, and is overall uneven. Despite not being able to balance comedy and horror well together, the comedic aspect worked. It did generally me laugh, though the constant pop culture references are annoying. It's very self aware that it's a movie and doesn't take itself too serious and should you while watching it. Another problem are the unnecessary back stories for some of the characters and other characters we could done without. It'll definitely appeals more to younger audiences while older audiences might simply hate this the nonsense of what they're witnessing. Though despite poor writing in general, it's a movie you shouldn't take seriously and simply enjoy the craziness the ensures.

Other than the annoying blonde in the beginning of the movie who thankfully dies within three minutes, the cast is pretty likable. You could tell the cast had a blast doing such a ridiculous and over the top film. Josh Hutcherson is actually enjoyable here, unlike the last soulless movie I saw him in called The Forger. Although I do disapprove of Josh Hutcherson saving Dane Cook in 1992, which explains Hucterson lack of popularity. Shanley Caswell is not only good looking, but likable, charming, and not that bad of an actress. Dane Cook, like always, is unfunny. Although you do get to see him get axed in the chest, but unfortunately he lives by the end of the movie. The movie has some nice visual, kinetic energy, and a enjoyable cast.

Detention lacks plot and is simply weird to experience, but it doesn't take itself seriously and neither should you for a good time. If you're not a not demanding a central plot or anything that requires using your brain, Detention is the movie for you.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2012
In 1996, Wes Craven came up with an new and innovative concept in horror. He combined a great slasher film, within a murder mystery, while having teenagers mock horror films at the same time. That film was called Scream and it was way ahead of it's time. In 2011, Detention tried to modernize this type of film and fails miserably. Detention is set at Grizzly Lake High School, a school which encompasses everything that is wrong with teenage life today. With a new hit horror film at the top of the box office, one person, who has had enough of the hip/trendy high school life, decides to make the film come to life at Grizzly Lake. This film mocks every modern teenage trend to the point of being offense. The film mocks everything from teens use of social media and cell phones to goths, cutters, emos, bullying, and even teen suicide. The killer on the loose is almost an afterthought in a film that is just in really bad taste. Josh Hutcherson stars as the most popular kid in school, and it is completely unbelievable that the most wanted boy at school is played by a short, hairy kid, with a bad attitude, who happens to be in his twenties. I usually like the roles Hutch decides to play, as they usually suit him to a tee, but Clapton Davis was never meant to be played by someone like him and it's painfully obvious. Hutch is paired with newcomer, Shanley Caswell, an unlucky teenager who often tries and fails to kill herself. She's a super emo outcast, who no one believe would ever be the target of a killer. Overall, Detention is a very mediocre slasher film under the veil of an even lazier comedy. Much like one of it's stars, Dane Cook, Detention tries much too hard to be funny. Comedy should be a natural thing, resulting from unusual events. The writers of this film put so many different types of people into such ridiculous circumstances, that what's supposed to be funny, comes across as stupid, impossible, and downright offensive. Despite the way it looks, Detention isn't even close to being as good as Scream and is most definitely a film you should avoid.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2012
Joseph Kahn wanted to show everyone that he could make a feature film, he succeeds at doing so. Although it is not as conventional as another director may have done it, the movie still holds you. If you get confused good because you will also laugh and have a good time watching, although it can be raunchy at times.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2013
This movie is an absolute mess - it's ALL OVER THE PLACE. The makers are obviously striving hard (a little too hard) for cult status. Along with the central serial killer story, there's the guy with the puss infested angry hand, a time-travelling alien-abducted bear, a cross-decades mind swap and a ballet-hip-hop dance to Backstreet Boys. There's also a self-parody, self-aware, post-ironic streak that gradually gets more and more absurd and tonnes of very funny dialogue. There are also some great riffs on the Scream series (especially Scream 4), Saw, Freaky Friday and Donnie Darko. About a third of the film works but when it does it's excellent, and even when it's being massively excessive it's still enjoyable. A bizarre film to be sure.
August 27, 2015
If you want to be scared don't watch this movie. But it's totally a teenage comedy, I can see a lot of kids liking. I personally liked it a lot, it has more edge to it than most teen comedies.
February 28, 2015
Take me, Beauty Beast. Your teeth are so hard.

A group of teenagers on detention discover there are some strange things going on in their school. There is a serial killer murdering students, and a strange bear in the auditorium that may be a time machine. Is it possible the students in detention can piece together the clues and uncover the killer or will they just become the next victims?

"Pregnant teenagers are never funny. Ever."

Joseph Kahn, director of Torque and numerous music videos (for artists like Britney Spears, U2, 50 Cent, and Eminem), delivers Detention. The storyline for this picture is terrible and was essentially Hot Tub Time Machine for the teen slasher/horror genre. The acting was disappointing and the cast includes Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locker, and Julie Dolan.

"How hard is it to be cool in 1992?"

Detention is a movie that I came across and thought my girlfriend would enjoy the high school setting (she's a fan of these types of movies). Unfortunately, neither of us found this overly interesting. The kill scenes were purposely clumsy, which made them flimsy and frustrating. Overall, I recommend skipping this picture.

"This movie is so stupid. Let' go back to the classroom and fall asleep."

Grade: F
½ January 18, 2015
Funny, goofy, hyperactive, surprisingly smart horror/comedy/parody/scifi/whatever flick. Not for everyone, but I got a huge kick out of it and laughed my butt off.
½ October 25, 2014
Director Joseph Kahn is more than capable of bringing a brilliant sense of style to his film Detention. The film looks sharp and on the edge of being a music video, in a good way. However, the film is too obsessed with its over stylized dialogue and imagery that it begins to be a little bit of a headache about 25 minutes in. It begins taking much effort for you to make it through the film, because you feel like you're running a race with the cast. It stops being enjoyable when it feels like a workout just to keep up with everything.

The film shows a lot of promise, but it loses its narrative and heart in all of the style.
½ October 5, 2014
What did I just watch? this movie is a incoherent mess. The only redeeming factor is the touch of occasional nostalgic humor.
½ September 20, 2014
i'm not entirely sure what this film means. i'm not entirely sure of what it's making fun of or parodying. i watched it twice in one week and i'm thankful for it. on first watch, it felt out of control, but good. on second watch, it was nearly perfect. this kind of unrestrained ambition is pretty uncommon, i daresay. quite reminiscent of spring breakers. i usually hate name-dropping, but it didn't bug me at all here, and i don't know why/that's super inconsistent for me. love you, detention.
½ September 19, 2014
This movie was entertaining to watch only because it was a clusterfuck of a movie. It had no idea what it was doing and overall accoplished nithing as a film. I did love, however the job of Josh Hucherson making the best of nothing. The story was outlabfish and insane, but thats why it was entertaining.
September 14, 2014
Take Scott Pilgrim, mash it with John Hughes films, add some Donnie Darko and Scream and you get...a mess. I've never seen a film try to be so many things at once and failing at all of them. I kinda want to snap my fingers at the director and yell, "focus!"
September 14, 2014
Does it try too hard? It definitely does. Is it entertaining? You bet.
A hyper stylized film that's as pretty to watch as it is fun. Director/writer Joseph Kahn tries to shove in as much content as possible, and that's okay with me.
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