My first review of 2013 is this fairly run-of-the-mill story of high schools students being terrorised by a vengeful ghost I actually mistook this for a different film also called detention but this film came out two years earlier. It has a low-budget which means cheap CGI and most of the time it manages to work well without using them but when they do appear they aren’t very good. This film features the late David Carradine in what must have been one of his last film roles. At first I thought the character clichés would get annoying but they do try giving a couple of them a bit of depth
The set-up is that in the 70s a bunch of high school students are involved in a prank that goes tragically wrong and a boy gets burned to death.
Forward to the present and we see the two main characters nice hot jock Paul (Preston Jones) and nice hot girl Lisa (Maitland McConnell) getting given detention for arriving late by Principal Hoskins (David Carradine) while he is talking to a new history teacher Miss Cipher (Alexa Jago). Hoskins also hands one to a passing Goth girl Sara (Zelda Williams) who accepts it like it is a daily ritual.
The unused incinerator where the boy was killed is still in the boiler room in the basement but Hoskins is finally getting the go-ahead to get rid of it and so he has two workmen getting it dismantled. The spirits make the metal incinerator door slam shut on the hand of one of the workmen severing some of his fingers and halts work while the other workman takes him to hospital.
At the end of the school day the whole school is getting whisked off on buses to watch some sort of big match so the school will be empty except for the pupils in detention, their teacher Coach L (Thomas Calabro) and Miss Cipher who turned down the creepy offer of a seat next to Hoskins at the match.
The usual bunch gathers in the detention room. Paul and Lisa meet up with Paul’s friend Jack (Billy Aaron Brown) who is an immature pest. They also meet up with Mimi (Rachel Sterling) who has bitchy slutty spoilt rich girl persona and Sam (Michael Mitchell), a weird boy who stalks Mimi and she tolerates his attention and even lets him claim to be her boyfriend. Sam deliberately got detention after Mimi got detention so he could look after her. As they walk to the detention room they don’t notice the black CGI ghost smoke flying around the corridors and it flies around Sam before entering his body and knocking him to the floor like he’d been punched. He gets up asking if anyone saw it but like I said no-one did.
In the detention room Sara is already there as well as the final student and to complete the list of shallow stereotypes we have T-Loc (Jonathan ‘Lil J’ McDaniel) a black student with an aggressive persona. He enjoys making remarks about Mimi who is capable of giving as good as she gets but it winds up Sam. Coach comes in and takes control, first by taking away all phones, I-Pods and knives and locking them away in a desk drawer. He then makes them get on with whatever pointless busy work they have been assigned. Now the creepy stuff starts with Sara seeing a face at the window in the door. Coach is doubtful until he sees shadows of someone passing the door. He goes to investigate and runs in to Miss Cipher who was just about to come in. They hear noises in the school so Coach goes with Miss Cipher to investigate and he locks the detention room door behind him which is a very stupid and irresponsible thing to do. Remember he also locked away all their phones too which is was also very stupid but seems to be required for the plot. Miss Cipher had come to tell the Coach that the police had called to tell them that because of a storm that is raging outside the river is too high and bridge too dangerous so they are trapped there for the night. They make their way to Hoskin’s office but the CGI ghost smoke appears and they get separated.
Back in the detention room after the usual pointless bickering they start wondering if something happened to the Coach. They are locked in the room but T-Loc brings out a lock pick. Before he can use it to open the door Sam grabs it out of his hand and tries to open the door but because he’s a klutz he just break the lock pick.
They start seeing ghosts who are replaying the events of the day the boy was killed. Sara starts to freak out and wants to leave. No-one even talks about leaving by the fire exit but I think Sara tried the window once and then they just left it. Paul knows another way out of the room – a door hidden by furniture and boxes and labelled Fire Exit but it isn’t a fire exit, which is lucky because I’m sure blocking off a fire exit is a criminal offence. Everyone goes out through the door which leads down to the service tunnels and eventually to the boiler room. Sam pushes his way through first so he can check if it’s safe for Mimi and he goes rushing on blindly. Mimi and T-Loc keep together which naturally leads to heavy petting when they find somewhere quiet. Paul, Lisa and Jack go off another way. Sara refuses to leave because she’s got claustrophobia so she stays in the detention room and now everyone is split up into isolated groups, all the better to be picked off the spirits haunting the school
The film was bearable but it’s just not very interesting or memorable. The characters are pretty thinly drawn though T-Loc, Jack and Mimi do get a bit of fleshing out. The same cannot be said about Paul and Lisa who remain pretty and bland. I already mentioned the cheap CGI but another problem I had was that the background noise was pretty loud all the time and it was often difficult to make out what the characters were saying.