DISCLAIMER: I'm under the impression that I must have accidentally consumed acid without my knowledge and I'm just on a hallucinatory high, because surely this whacked out thing I just witnessed couldn't possibly be a real movie. I'm not even sure if I'm actually typing right now, or just think I am. Is this real life? WHAT IS GOING ON?
So anyway, this "movie" starts off with some bitch waking up in the morning, being a total...bitch. She bitches at her mom for making her french toast while she's on a no-carb diet, bitches at her brother for ruining her life by being in the bathroom when she needs it, and directly addresses the audience with a step-by-step guide to being hip and popular. One of these steps includes going to see the new horror movie, Cinderhella II: Beauty Scream. And just barely a minute later, the bitch gets killed by some lunatic dressed up as this Cinderhella character. Don't feel too bad, though. She really was a bitch...
What follows is not quite the uber-meta slasher you'd expect after such an opening, but something much more difficult to categorize. The film picks up with Riley, a suicidal loner who just can't catch a break. She spends most of the film's running time getting caught up in high school shenanigans involving douchey principals, lusty nerds, wild parties, a shitton of meta-referencing, and of course, unrequited love for the most popular boy at school (Josh Hutcherson), all the while fending off the crazy Cinderhella killer.
What I just described to you may sound like a typical story, but I assure you it's not. In fact, it's not even really a story at all, but rather just a series of really cracked-out scenes; scenes that also involve body swapping à la Freaky Friday and a time traveling bear.
I don't even know, so don't ask. I can't exactly pick apart this film in a typical reviewing fashion for fear of my brain exploding, so understanding whether I actually liked it or not is proving somewhat difficult. Is this a slasher or a trippy teen sci-fi comedy? The killer seldom appears and feels more like an afterthought instead of an important part of the plot, and the sci-fi aspects are totally out of left field and don't make much sense. Also...Dane Cook is in it (*this is where you make an UGH sound*).
However, Detention is a surprisingly well polished, sleek looking film with a lot of what-the-fuck-am-I-watching moments that keep you glued from beginning to end. It has a great soundtrack, a hatred for hipsters and a decent amount of laughs. I have to give filmmaker Joseph Kahn credit for violently skewering the conventions of storytelling, but only some credit. There's a very, very thin line between breaking the rules into originality, and breaking into absurdity. This movie often crosses that line into a ridiculously hyper and jumbled mess that felt like one big assault on the brain; so much so that I actually had to pause the film for a few minutes at the halfway mark to give myself a much needed rest.
At some points I found myself despising Detention, and others enjoying the crap out of it. It's completely batshit crazy, confusing and more than a little irritating, but somehow very entertaining nonetheless. Was it a good film? Maybe not quite, but it sure is an experience worth recommending.