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Detention Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

Smells like teen spirit. Read full review

1.0

Grae Drake Profile

SRSLY WTF Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    45

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The New York Times

    Horror fans will probably grow impatient with the unevenly executed "Scream"-style self-awareness, and Mr. Kahn ultimately loses control of his referential plate-spinning, in what might be another illustration that catering to short attention spans leads only to mutually assured distraction.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Moves at an absurd pace and dares anyone above 25 to keep up, yet the stream of genre-hopping jokes and sight gags makes the movie an entertaining ride.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Bloody teen slasher ridicules genre's many stereotypes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, like most slasher flicks aimed at high schoolers, Detention is a crudely violent film with crass language and sex talk, including a couple of scenes with partial nudity. There's loads of the blood, gore, and at times comic violence expected from this genre, but there's also one scene of a girl trying to hang herself that might upset parents and disturb any teen who's ever dealt with suicidal thoughts or the suicide of a loved one. The language includes the usual suspects of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and other insults. There are lots of references to sex (including virginity, promiscuity, bodily fluids, etc.) and two quick glimpses of breasts and one of teens having sex in bed. Underage characters also drink, sometimes to the point of extreme drunkenness. Although there aren't many role models in the story, the movie does make audiences think about all of the stereotypes in popular teen horror films.

  • Families can talk about the self referential way that Detention makes audiences think about slasher flick stereotypes. How do all the mentions of movies like Scream and other teen films highlight the formulaic nature of the high-school horror genre?
  • Is the violence in Detention actually scary? Why are so many horror films based in high school? Were the death scenes frightening? How does humor impact the movie's violence?
  • How is teen drinking depicted? Which characters got drunk, and how did drinking affect their actions and behavior? What are the real-life consequences of underage drinking?
  • The movie pokes fun at the constant use of technology by teens -- particularly texting. Does the movie make texting look useful, or is it also depicted as ridiculous?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Despite all of Detention's crude gore, substance use, and sex jokes, the filmmakers do challenge the audience with some interesting ideas about popular culture. All of the movie's excessive self-referential humor and commentary forces media-savvy audiences to consider just how predictable and formulaic teen slasher flicks have been in recent movie history. A couple of scenes -- like the montage of high-school detention throughout the '90s and '00s -- are particularly clever ways of demonstrating the genre's stereotypes.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Riley and Clapton are determined to do whatever it takes to save not just themselves but also the principal and the school (even though they kind of hate their school). And at the very least, each character is slightly more complicated than their "type" in the genre: Clapton is a popular skater but is also bullied and likes throwback music like Sting, Riley is a social misfit who's still thought of as desirable and cool by some, Ione is a head cheerleader but is also unusually smart, and even the dim-bulb jock is actually something you'd never expect.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The aim of Detention's graphic violence is to shock but also to amuse, so many of the plentiful gory scenes have a humorous undertone. There's a ton of blood on display during the various killings. Teens are usually hacked to death by the Cinderhella copycat, but other characters blow up, have their limbs amputated, and otherwise meet their end in a bloody manner. The movies within the movie are even gorier than the feature film, featuring gross torture sequences. In one case, a girl is forced to place an item inside her stomach, so her insides are visible. Needless to say, there's a high body count. An attempted suicide is treated in a joking manner.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Many crude mentions of sex, virginity, sexual acts/positions, and body parts/fluids. There's nudity (an exposed breast that's sexted around the school) and breasts in a movie-within-a-movie sequence. One scene shows a high-school football player having sex (he's bare-chested and thrusting on top of his date) in bed. There's an involved discussion about how only virgins are targeted by masked movie serial killers, and then the two girls taunt each other that they should each be safe (since one is promiscuous and the other has an embarrassing first time to recount).  A girl tells her ex that he lied because it's "not normal for semen to glow in the dark." Riley turns a chaste comforting hug from a handsome teacher into a come on until he breaks the embrace with a nod toward his lover, who smacks him in the rear. Two teens get into a scuffle that looks like the guy is having sex instead of fighting with the girl.

  • language false4

    Language: Several uses of "f--k," plus frequent use of other curse words like "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," "c--k," "d--k," and more.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Constant references to popular culture, particularly the '80s and '90s. Every scene includes mentions of movies, TV shows, musicians, songs, and even fashion trends. The most referenced are the movies Scream and The Karate Kid, as well as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, My So-Called Life, Sting, Hanson, etc.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lots of underage drinking -- from beer to hard liquor (vodka, cocktails). Several teenagers get drunk at a party, some to the point of vomiting. Riley purposely drinks until she's so wasted that she hooks up with someone on the couch and winds up exposing her breast, which is quickly photographed and texted to the entire school. A mother is a lush who's rarely shown without a drink in her hand.

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