Bad Kids Go To Hell, Haunting Of Crestview High (2012)
Directed by: Matthew Spradlin
Written by: Barry Wernick, Matthew Spradlin
Starring: Ali Faulkner, Amanda Alch, Augie Duke, Ben Browder, Cameron Deane Stewart, Jeffrey Schmidt, Judd Nelson, Marc Donato, Roger Edwards
HAUNTING OF CRESTVIEW HIGH (2012)
aka BAD KIDS GO TO HELL
Directed by Matthew Spradlin
A group of misbehaving high school students are forced to take 8 hours worth of detention at school. The teens are locked inside the school’s new library that is said to be haunted due to the land which it is stood on once belonging to and stolen from an Apache tribe. When the supervising adult, school psychologist Dr. Day, disappears with food poisoning caused by one of the students, they decide to hold a seance, spurred on by gothic Veronica. When the seance turns hostile, leaving one of the students dead, the group begin to turn on one another with half believing in a ghostly presence and the others convinced that one of their fellow students is to blame.
Known in America under the alternate title BAD KIDS GO TO HELL, HAUNTING OF CRESTVIEW HIGH is a teen horror movie that covers a variety of genres with its slasher and supernatural style coupled with some laugh-out-loud dry comedy moments. The film focuses on Matt Clark (Cameron Deane Stewart), a teen who’s been in trouble more times than he count and has a previous conviction which landed him in juvenile detention. Currently attached to a parole officer, Matt manages to squeeze his school dentention time on a fateful day where he is joined by a group of other unsavoury teens: Tricia Wilkes (Ali Faulkner) a drug addled snob who’s governor mother pulls all the strings in the town; Megan McDurst (Amanda Alch) an asthmatic nerd with a lawyer father; curly haired Tarek Ahmed (Marc Donato) who’s father is a construction developer; morbid goth Veronica Harmon (Augie Duke) and injured jock Craig Cook (Roger Edwards) who’s dad works for Mrs Wilkes. As the character say, their time together ain’t gonna be an 80s movie a la The Brekafast Club, and they’re proved right when they each begin to turn up dead or disappear. Could it be the ghost of the Indian who’s land was stolen for the school’s library?
HAUNTING OF CRESTVIEW HIGH is a very strange title. The thing that struck me most was its disjointed structure. It doesn’t flow like a normal film would and this broken, bumpy structure makes it incredibly difficult to watch. I believe the film is based on a graphic novel and maybe they’ve gone for this particular style, but it doesn’t appear to convert well in movie format. Sin City felt the same way for me, which too was adapted from a graphic novel. The pace of HAUNTING OF CRESTVIEW HIGH makes it hard for the viewer to settle and is partly to blame for the lack of tension, though the story struggles to establish tension anyway. The film does, however, have strong points and it’s usually through witty one-liners or visual gags. Both myself and my father laughed out loud a good few times: once being the cafeteria scene and the other involving Veronica and her “toys”.
Though there’s a couple of great death scenes with a definite creepy intro to the movie, HAUNTING OF CRESTVIEW HIGH is an enigma. It has a weird vibe that I can’t quite put my finger on, but its disjointed structure is what I feel is majorly to blame. The storyline itself dabbles in various directions to give reasons as to why the students act like they do, along with the storyline of the Native Americans, but as a whole the film doesn’t quite hit the mark as a coherant, watchable film. It certainly has its highlights, mainly through its comedy and OTT characters, but I’m afraid even these aspects can’t save the movie.