Movie Review: Bad Kids Go to Hell
Austin360.com | Austin American-Statesman
Teenagers who are suffering through high school humiliations, as well as those who haven’t gotten over them, will probably enjoy “Bad Kids Go to Hell.”
The premise: Put six preppies at a private school in library detention for eight hours, then watch them die. No, that’s not a mature way to respond to high school humiliations, but it can be cheeky fun to watch — as long as you realize it’s just a movie.
Start with the coke-snorting cheerleader with a power-hungry, rich mama. Add an arrogant jock and an even more arrogant brainiac. Then throw in a goth chick with a nasty secret, an irritating nerd and an inveterate troublemaker, and you have the makings for a fun afternoon.
“Bad Kids Go to Hell” is based on the comic book by Dallasites Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick. Spradlin, a graduate of Highland Park High School, directs the movie adaptation. Wernick, who shares screenwriting credits with Spradlin, graduated from St. Mark’s, a private school in Dallas.
The movie, which was filmed primarily at Spiderwood Studios in Austin, also features several Texas actors.
Ali Faulkner, the Dallas actress who played Bianca in “The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” stars as the cheerleader who ends up stalking the library with a nailgun. Amanda Alch, another Dallas actress, plays the brainy girl who, for some reason, decides to do a striptease in the middle of class. Mark Donato of “Degrassi: The Next Generation” is the nerd, while Roger Edwards plays the jock. Eloise DeJoria of Austin, who plays the cheerleader’s mother, has one of the adult roles, along with Judd Nelson, the star of “The Breakfast Club,” who wears a beard and serves as the private school’s headmaster.
Faulkner has some of the funniest/cringe-worthy moments. But the two characters who seem possibly likable — the goth chick (Augie Duke) and the troublemaker (Cameron Deane Stewart) — steal the movie.
Duke plays the moody Veronica with the requisite sarcasm, holding a seance during detention in the hopes of discovering whether the library is really haunted, as rumored. She also flirts relentlessly with Matt, the outsider. Stewart, meanwhile, plays Matt, the mysterious kid who keeps trying to do the right thing but ends up with a bloody ax in his hand. (No, that’s not a spoiler. The movie starts with the ax-wielding, then goes to flashbacks.)
The movie suffers from several implausibilities, and as you can probably tell, it isn’t high art. But horror movies usually tap into our secret fears and desires, and “Bad Kids Go to Hell” does so quite well.