The second night of the Toronto After Dark Summer Screenings kicked off with one crazy comedy. Detention is not an easy film to describe because it is trying to be many things at once. On one hand, the film is a very campy and crazy teen comedy that is filled to the brim with cultural references. Other the other hand, the film is a horror spoof that references Scream, Saw, and The Fly among others.
This is definitely a film that has to be seen to believed. The film uses a lot of Scott Pilgrim-like effects that has things like comedic intertitles, text messages, and scoreboards pop up on the screen. In addition, the dialogue is very self-aware and features many pop cultural references.
In many of ways that film can be described as a coming of age story that just happens to have a slasher film subplot. The horror elements are just as campy as the rest of the film and I was often wondering if they were truly needed, since the film was already crazy enough.
I would have to say that the film seemed to get better the weirder it got. Throughout the film, there were many side-story asides featuring everything from guys with fly blood, to time travelling bears, to swapping minds via different time periods. In fact, time travel becomes a very big aspect of the film and the third act featured much time travelling weirdness.
I should also note that even though the film is called Detention, detention only has a very small role in the actual plot (with the obligatory Breakfast Club references). That said, I did very much enjoyed a montage that showed detention throughout the last twenty years, complete with different dress styles and music. It was one of my favourite scenes of the film.
I also have to namecheck a Canadian character in the film named Gord, who was probably one of the best supporting characters in the film (despite only appearing in a few scenes). One of the reasons this character is so good is because he actually plays AGAINST the Canadian stereotypes often seen in films and is instead a somewhat arrogant know-it-all that is great at debates.
Overall, I enjoyed Detention much better than I was expected and it turned out to be a surprising highlight of these summer screenings.
8 | LIKED IT