With The Walking Dead off the air until October, are you looking for a zombie fix that doesn’t include Brad Pitt? Then you might be interested in Detention of the Dead which opens in limited theaters this Friday and is available on VOD now. Read my brief review after the break.
As you might have guessed from the title, this zombie comedy takes place in a high school. In fact, it’s meant to be sort of cross between The Breakfast Club and Shaun of the Dead. Written and directed by Alex Craig Mann, based on a play by Rob Rinow, the low budget indie film has only a few recognizable actors in Max Adler (Glee) and Justin Chon (Twilight, 21 & Over). Jacob Zachar plays the main protagonist Eddie, a nerd who has a crush on the hottest girl in school, Janet (Christa B. Allen). His goth friend Willow (Alexa Nikolas) and Janet’s hunky boyfriend Brad (Jayson Blair) round out the gang of kids who are in the detention from Hell.
The concept behind the movie intrigued me, since there are so many zombie movies now that it can be hard to find a unique way to approach the genre. One of the more interesting elements of The Walking Dead and other slow burning entries is the character development. Having people, especially with different personalities, stuck together can create some great drama, or even comedy. Unfortunately, all we get with Detention of the Dead is cheesy comedy and a predictable plot. Instead of just paying homage, it blatantly rips off chunks of The Breakfast Club.
The film offers a thin social commentary about high school students already being zombies, which also isn’t very original. Fortunately, the film’s likable actors and interesting if underdeveloped concept save this from being totally unwatchable.