While sentenced to Saturday detention locked in their school’s new library, six students from the exclusive Crestview Academy start falling victim to horrible “accidents”. With their number rapidly diminishing and no way of escaping the library, the remaining students must figure out who or what is causing the accidents before it is too late.
“This is not the f**king feel-good 80’s movie of the year where for seven hours we put aside our diffs and through commiserating about our mutually dysfunctional family lives or how lonely and alienated we each feel, we find some sort of common ground and end up as BFFs.” So says one of the characters early on in Bad Kids Go to Hell, which cleverly reimagines The Breakfast Club as a horror movie, by way of And Then There Were None, to great success.
The first twenty minutes or so of the film are a pure homage to the John Hughes classic: a cast of stereotypes brought together by Saturday morning detention – check; a very familiar looking library – check; even the scene in which the characters all arrive at the school is lifted straight from The Breakfast Club, and if that wasn’t enough, Judd Nelson appears in a cameo as the school principal. However, after the students have arrived, things start moving in quite a different direction from anything John Hughes ever imagined. Rather than talking about their problems, the teens of Bad Kids Go to Hell decide to conduct a séance in order to communicate with the ghost who is rumoured to haunt the library. Big mistake. It’s not long after that the accidents start happening, creating a whole new set of problems for the group, far more pressing than whether or not their parents really care. But what is causing the accidents? Is it really a malevolent spirit out for revenge or could it be one of the group?
An independent movie directed by a first time director (who also created the graphic novel on which it was based) and starring a bunch of actors you’ve probably never heard of, Bad Kids Go to Hell makes the most of its low budget, often substituting smart dialogue for violence, but leaving in enough scares and blood to keep horror fans satisfied. While watching it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the 2011 horror-comedies Detention and The Cabin in the Woods, in particular Detention, which paid homage to The Breakfast Club as well as about a million other films of the 80’s and 90’s. Detention remains my favourite of the three, with its completely insane plot that schizophrenically changes direction every five or ten minutes but somehow manages to make sense. Yet Bad Kids Go to Hell still manages to hold its own in the group. If, like the characters in this film, you too ever end up stuck inside on a rainy Saturday afternoon, there are a lot worse things that you could do than watch a movie marathon made up of Bad Kids Go to Hell, Detention and The Cabin in the Woods.
Verdict: Did you ever think The Breakfast Club would have been better as a horror movie? Here’s your chance to find out. Bad Kids Go to Hell is a surprisingly good indy horror-comedy with a great ending you won’t see coming.