Review: “Bad Kids of Crestview Academy”

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy is an enthralling rollercoaster of a cross between The Breakfast Club and Sin City, with plot twists and turns that keep the audience guessing. Its strong sense of style is evident from the very first minute. This is Ben Browder’s directorial debut coming from a healthy acting career, spanning back to 1978. The film is based on the graphic novel sequel “Bad Kids Go 2 Hell.”

Siouxsie Hess (played by Sammi Hanratty) sneaks into detention to find out about her sister’s recent death by hacking into the school’s files. When she arrives at Saturday detention, she finds that she’ll be sharing her time with her late sister’s classmates who were all there the night her sister died. When the janitor, Max (Ben Browder), has difficulty finding the code to the library door, Siouxsie distracts the school counselor in charge of detention and locks her up in a nearby storage closet. Afterward, she starts to hack the school’s mainframe with a virus to look up the video her sister sent to her school email on the night of her death. The virus triggers the school’s defenses, causing the whole building to go into lockdown. With the school locked down behind bars, the students start dying one by one, each in gruesome manners.

Browder uses the story’s origin as a graphic novel in a creative and entertaining way, with scenes cutting from live action to comic strip animation to accentuate action, characters, and imperative plot points. This comic style shines through the cinematography with crisp, clear focus, striking oblique angles, and vibrant, vivid lighting. The film also boasts an impressive cast of recognizable actors with Sean Astin as the school’s head master, Gina Gershon as one of the student’s senator mother, and Drake Bell as the perverted hacker assisting the protagonist.

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy is a great mix of comic, grindhouse, and mystery that weaves an intelligent puzzle together full of unsuspected twists and surprises.

There will be an advance screening, January 6, at Wizard World in New Orleans while a limited release is scheduled for January 13 along with On Demand. Head over to the important links below for more information.