January 11, 2017 Bad Kids of Crestview Academy (Movie Review)
A scalping via Porsche, drugs, kittens, crude humor, oxymorons galore, and one seriously gnarly homemade flame-thrower encompass some of the highlights of Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, which comes to Theaters and VOD on Friday, January the 13th of 2017.
The sequel to 2012’s dark comedic Thriller Bad Kids Go To Hell, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy – like its predecessor – is based off the best-selling graphic novels co-written by Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick. All viewers need to know about the original film is that there are some seriously bizarre and deadly happenings going on at Crestview Academy, an elite prep school. Six students serving detention in the library find themselves in a horrible situation and, at the end, only one man, Matt Clark (Cameron Deane Stewart: Pitch Perfect 2012, Geography Club 2013), is still breathing and he is quickly carted off to Crestview Asylum.
A new class is now in session four years later and they are equally bad kids. Serving detention this Saturday are blonde “Goth” Siouxsie Hess (Sammi Hanratty: Pushing Daisies series, Salem series), gay heartthrob Brian Marquez (Matthew Frias: When the Game Stands Tall 2014, Akron 2015), Sara Hasegawa (Erika Daly: Twenty Somethings series, Rising Tides 2016), the preacher’s daughter Faith Jackson (Sophia Taylor Ali: The Walking Deceased 2015, Everybody Wants Some!! 2016), and the King of the Preps Blaine Wilkes (Colby Arps: Men, Women & Children 2014, Wicked Blood 2014). These bad kids are here to serve their time, but Crestview Academy has not yet unleashed all it has trapped inside its doors.
In the first of many comedic twists, these kids end up trapped outside of the library and desperately want to get inside. In fact, Siouxsie has to seemingly beg her way into detention just to be amongst this dishonor squad. Sufe Bradshaw (Star Trek 2009, Veep series) reprises her role as the dippy Dr. Knight, a glorified secretary who is in charge of corralling the youngsters and dishing out their punishment. “There are no such thing as bad kids, Max, they’re only misguided,” Knight states with a smile. When she goes on to note that all of the doors in the school now operate on a passcode which, if the electric were to fail is immediately overridden, we immediately know that those passcodes are never going to work.
They do not and the gang remains locked out of the library with the superbly off-putting janitor Max, played by Director Ben Browder (Party of Five series, Farscape series). Dr. Knight disappears, the security system goes tits up, and the literal steel bars and lock gates descend onto Crestview. Viewers are not yet forty minutes into this film when the action truly begins and the plot goes haywire. In short, there is a gooey drug poisoning scene; a Candy Crush Saga reference; crazy cat videos; Facebook humor; cockroaches; death via jig saw (not the puzzle); a ton of black humor; and a twist-ending that paves the way for another sequel.
Attention to the smallest of humorous details is a must when viewing this film, from the hysterical signs throughout the Academy to the school’s Latin motto, “Opes Tumor Fatum,” to the random jokes peppered throughout the script. Let one even take a moment to respect the tip of the hat to Siouxsie and the Banshees in Drake Bell’s (Superhero Movie 2008, Ultimate Spider-Man 2012) main scene as Ben. In her best quote of the film, Sara quips: “Confucious say man who lay girl on field get piece of earth.” By far one of the funniest scenes, however, is when after doing a line of coke, gay Brian freaks out over all of the feline videos being projected onto a screen in the lecture hall. Crude sexual humor applies.
What holds this zany parody together is the central plot that revolves around Siouxsie’s older sister, Alison Hess. A member of the senior class and friend to each of the bad kids in detention, Alison was a muckraking journalist who enjoyed reporting her findings on the school’s own interweb. When she turns up dead at a drunken party for the senior class one night, Siouxsie’s life’s focus becomes to solve the mystery of her sister’s murder. Enter each of the possible candidates in Alison’s murder: the gay gigolo who splits his time between doing lines and getting head; the girl obsessed with cats – and not felines; the preacher’s daughter who, of course, is a major slut; and Mister Clean, whose mother is a future senator. Hell-bent on solving the mystery of this death, Hanratty’s savage passion in her acting role is what truly drives this story onward.
An overall parody and campy mocking of teen Thrillers and wannabe Horror flicks, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy relies heavily on its humorous script and its frequent nods to the past, including 1985’s The Breakfast Club and 1976’s Carrie, among others. In addition, highlighted is the phenomenal acting of both Hanratty and Arps. Comedic relief by Sean Astin (Goonies 1985, The Lord of The Rings series) as a totally doofy Headmaster Nash does not hurt, either.
Then there is Gina Gershon’s (Face/Off 1997, The Insider 1999) usual intensity and stout seriousness as Senator Wilkes is the perfect contrast to Astin’s bumbling humor. The pair are the perfect professional complement to Hanratty and Arps, the old school and the new school of acting. Hanratty already has the solid beginnings of a long-lasting career, while Arps’ intensity, comedic timing, and killer voice will have him starring as an evil genius for years to come.
This R-rated foray into Black Humor, teen parodies, Pop culture, and the amusingly crude is a fun, albeit forgettable, film worth seeing, but be sure to wait for the credits. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Bad Kids of Crestview Academy 4 out of 5 stars.