Bad Kids of Crestview Academy
Directed by: Ben Browder
Run time: 100 minutes
The Lowdown: Way back in 2012, the graphic novel Bad Kids Go To Hell by Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick made the leap to the big screen as an uneven, albeit campy and enjoyable, B-grade popcorn muncher.
Fast forward four years, and Wernick, now working with co-writer James R. Hallam, has drafted a sequel, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy. The film, directed by Farscape and Stargate: SG1 veteran Ben Browder, is a hot mess.
While it references the events in BKGTH, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy wants very much to be its own animal. The problem is, as written, the film has no cohesion whatsoever and it varies wildly between two distinct storylines, all the while showcasing the very worst stereotypes possible.
On the one hand, Bad Kids wants to create a sense of resentment toward its motley crew of rich douche bags and mean girls. To do that, the script introduces Siouxsie, a less wealthy alternative girl to the mix, whose sister recently died in a mysterious fall that looked like a suicide. Siouxsie suspects one or more of the rich kids having to serve detention knows more about the death, so she hires a hacker to put her name on the detention list. Little does she know, there’s an evil overlord actively manipulating things behinds the scenes. Unfortunately for viewers, that critical subplot isn’t truly revealed until much of the film has already passed. In between, there are random scenes that make little sense, such as Browder’s character, Max, the janitor, being swarmed over by cockroaches, which are later revealed to be government-created robotic drones. Browder doesn’t reappear on camera for 93 minutes, which only adds to the confusion.
Further complicating matters, Browder as director tries very hard to make sure you are watching a graphic novel adaptation by incorporating bursts of animation at odd times, often undermining the bloody kills by turning those moments – what many fans likely hoped to see – into cartoonish film fatals, thereby losing any points for the people simply hoping to see entitled brats off one another.
For a pulpy genre drive-in movie, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy actually seems unwilling to fully embrace its bloody and violent concept. Most of the kills are minimized to the point of being dull. The acting is across the board, ranging from overly serious to complete camp. And poor Sean Astin and Gina Gershon show up solely to collect a check, likely hoping no one will ever ask about their involvement.
Of course, the film ends with a set-up for a third and (hopefully) final chapter with not only a post-credits scene, but a post-post-credits scene. It’s hard to imagine that many people will be waiting in line.
This Momentum Pictures release is currently available in select theaters and on most streaming Video-on-Demand platforms.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Minimal.
Drug use – Yes.
Bad Guys/Killers – Take your pick between the spoiled, entitled millennials and/or the spoiled, entitled One-Percenters they call parents.
Buy/Rent – Neither.
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