Bad Kids Go To Hell (2012)
What would’ve happened if THE BREAKFAST CLUB was a horror film? If the kids that were gathered together for Saturday detention suddenly started getting picked off one by one? Well BAD KIDS GO TO HELL is here to answer that question. Based on the popular indie comic book by Matthew Spradlin and Barry Bazz Wernick, BAD KIDS GO TO HELL plays around with different genres as the story unfolds. Part horror, comedy, thriller, and mystery, this film covers all it’s bases. Let’s find out if it was successful.
The film takes place at the Crestview Academy where the country’s power elite send their children to get educated. One particular dark and stormy Saturday, six students are spending their day in detention over the watchful eye of Dr. Day (Jeffrey Schmidt). The kids gathered for their Saturday punishment are Tarek (Marc Donato), the nerd who only wants to please his father but never can; Craig (Roger Edwards), the athlete who believes the world is his oyster because he can throw a football; Veronica (Augie Duke), the weird, badass girl with an attitude; Megan (Amanda Alch), the over-achieving, neurotic nerd; Tricia (Ali Faulkner), the rich snob who thinks money can buy and solve any problem; and Matt (Cameron Deane Stewart), the kid from the wrong side of the tracks who happens to score well on standardized tests and is only at Crestview Academy due to a full-paid scholarship. It becomes clear early on that Matt and Veronica are the outsiders here and that Tarek, Craig, Megan, and Tricia know each as the result of some kind of tragic event.
Yes, the main characters in BAD KIDS GO TO HELL are stereotypes, but writers Barry Wernick and Spradlin know this. They create broad stroke characters and play around with them. They use the character’s main traits and exploit them all for our amusement. For example, when you look at Megan you see someone who looks like a neurotic, shy, introverted, innocent flower. But Megan puts so much pressure on herself academically that she has “episodes” that I can only call ‘erotic anxiety attacks.’ When the pressure gets too much for her, she has the uncontrollable urge to perform erotic stripteases while dancing on furniture in front of her classes. The characters here may not be anything new, but their stereotyping is a huge wink from the writers to the audience. These characters also share many of the same traits as those found in THE BREAKFAST CLUB. There are so many winks to this classic film that viewers started using BAD KIDS GO TO HELL as a drinking game. Every time a reference to THE BREAKFAST CLUB was made, viewers took a shot. I’m sure they got wasted.
After we meet and come to thoroughly hate the super-over-priviledged cast, the story kicks into high gear. The six of them are gathered together in the academy’s new library and must complete a research project before the end of the Saturday detention. The library, we soon learn, was built on land that was taken away from a Native American who mysteriously disappeared. The film does a good job of having the viewer wonder if what’s going on is the work of a serial killer or if the library is haunted by the ghost of the Native American. Evidence slowly mounts for both explanations. BAD KIDS GO TO HELL also has a distinct SCREAM vibe to it.
There’s not a ton of gore in this film, but the few scenes we get are loaded with the red stuff. It took me a little while to get into this film. The tone at the beginning didn’t really sync with the tone of the film as a whole. I’m glad I stuck with it, though. There’s a few twists at the end that really show this film’s graphic novel origins. I wasn’t crazy about the twists but they were amusing. You could certainly do worse than BAD KIDS GO TO HELL. The acting was on point and director Spradlin has some fun with the genre. Check this one out if you’re looking for a fun, odd-ball kind of film.
The sequel, BAD KIDS GO 2 HELL, is already in production and should be out later in 2015 or in 2016.
Director: Matthew Spradlin (co-writer with Barry Wernick)
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer