After the literary success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the ongoing obsession our pop culture has with nostalgia and remakes, it’s a wonder that movies like “Getting Schooled” aren’t more common. That is, a classic film consumers are nostalgic for combined with a horror subgenre that is always bankable. Dirty Dancing with Vampires, Back to the Future with Demon Possession… “Getting Schooled” is decidedly The Breakfast Club with a Slasher.
The movie does a serviceable job playing with the tropes of 80’s films, and with attempting the alchemy of The Breakfast Club without being a carbon copy parody in the mold of a spoof film like the “Scary Movie” series. We get all the familiar archetypes from Breakfast Club, down to the beleaguered Janitor played by Ron Jeremy (doing something like an 80’s era Rodney Dangerfield, complete with one liners and exasperated sighs). The cast of teens (all of them look to be closer to 30, as was the rule in teen films during the 1980s) are mostly believable, doing a fine job playing straight faced to a far fetched plot. The group of teens, while serving detention, must struggle to survive against a wheelchair bound teacher on a kill crazy rampage (a combination of an accidental bonk to the head and PTSD push poor Mr. Roker over the edge).
Tom Long plays Mr. Roker with such snarling, goofy intensity that it’s easy to forgive how this man in a wheelchair can virtually teleport anywhere silently in order to stalk our heroes. Still, one can’t help but chuckle at the incongruity of a handicapped slasher being such a menace to several able bodied teens that have an entire high school to run and hide in.
The film struggles to find its tone, staggering between borderline porn parody, to low brow comedy, survival drama, to splatter punk. However, sometimes the clashes of tone work in the film’s favor, particularly when the attractive kids are brutalized or maimed by Roker.
Getting Schooled attempts valiantly to adhere to 80’s fidelity. The music is upbeat synth pop that feels appropriate (but it’s way too overused) and the costuming seems authentic other than the fresh off the rack quality it has. Some of the kills even harken back to the great slasher flicks of a bygone era. Regardless, past the fun mashup of genres, this plot is threadbare even by low budget horror standards.
Overall, a lot could be learned from Getting Schooled by an up and coming micro budget filmmaker. It has enough going for it that I might be interested to see what the Norfolk brothers (director Chuck and co-writers Tim and Steve) could do with a bigger budget a longer shooting schedule.
Getting Schooled is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime and can be rented on Itunes
Craig is a co host of the Half Assed Horrorcast. His writing about horror has appeared on Bloody Good Horror, Fanboy Report and other places. Find him on twitter @4colorcraig.