GETTING SCHOOLED ** USA 2017 Dir: Chuck Norfolk. 83 mins
This slasher movie riff on THE BREAKFAST CLUB sets up five American high school archetypes for potential slaughter. There’s a stroppy airhead (Morgan Tyler) whose “resting bitch face” is actually just her regular face, a Rubik Cube-loving Vietnamese geek, a switchblade-wielding Hispanic, a smirking jock and a self-harming, sullen Goth (31 year old Mayra Leal).
Despite an opening bludgeoning courtesy of a vintage Toshiba tape deck, Chuck Norfolk’s 1983-set movie lacks momentum and turns overly serious in the second half, expecting us to care about its charmless stereotypes as it heads toward an unearned John Hughes-style sentimental freeze-frame ending. The cast is far too contemporary-looking to convince as 80’s high schoolers (note: we didn’t have the phrase “As if” back then), but Tom Long is fun as a rare paraplegic slasher villain: a Black Ops Vietnam veteran with intense PTSD, he kills teens in a delusional state, believing he’s still in the jungle fighting the Vietcong. The guillotine / mop-handle deaths are decent enough, and there are amusing pop culture references (“REO Homowagon”), but it’s oddly well behaved, and the novelty of roping in Ron Jeremy to cameo in horror movies (here as a janitor) has officially worn off. As for horror movies paying homage to THE BREAKFAST CLUB, we’ve already had two witty, inventive ones: check out DETENTION (2011) and BAD KIDS GO TO HELL (2012).
Review by Steven West