Bad Kids Go To Hell (2012) review

Bad Kids Go To Hell posterDirector: Matthew Spradlin

Starring: Cameron Deane Stewart, Marc Donato, Roger Edwards, Augie Duke, Amanda Alch, Ali Faulkner, Judd Nelson, Jeffery Schmidt

Also known as: The Haunting Of Crestview High (UK DVD)

“This is not the fucking feel good ’80s movie of the year where for seven hours we put aside our diffs and through commiserating about our mutually dysfunctional family lives or how lonely or alienated we each feel, we find some sort of common ground and end up as BFFs. Okay? So let us understand there is no ‘us’, there is no ‘we’ because I don’t do ‘we’, I just do me.” (Tricia, Bad Kids Go To Hell)

What do you get when you cross The Breakfast Club with a paranormal thriller? No doubt the film-makers behind Bad Kids Go To Hell would hope their film’s the answer.

But nah.

Instead, what tries to be a cool, edgy horror-themed take on John Hughes’ 80s teen classic is instead an overproduced, annoying film that irritates more than it entertains.

Bobby wasn't happy at Stanley after he told Susan he had a penis shaped like a corkscrew
Bobby wasn’t happy at Stanley after he told Susan he had a penis shaped like a corkscrew

The premise should be familiar to any fan of the aforementioned Brat Pack gem. Six unruly kids are forced to spend the weekend in detention at their school to make up for their various wrongdoings.

As if this wasn’t obvious enough, each teen also fits into a Breakfast Club style cliché: the jock, the princess, the weirdo and what have you.

They even spend their detention locked in the school library, complete with large statue in the middle of the room, while their teacher and the janitor roam the hallways.

In fact, the only thing missing is Judd Nelson walking around giving his classic mean John Bender stare to everyone.

Oh, wait.

Ah, that's right, he cameos as the headmaster
Ah, that’s right, he cameos as the headmaster

The six detainees are tasked with completing a history assignment, but things start to get a little out of hand when, convinced the library is haunted, they decide to hold a seance instead.

You see, word is the school is built on land that used to be owned by a Native American called Jacob Rainwater. The city of Crestview took over the land to build the school, and Jacob was pissed off.

That is, until he died in mysterious circumstances, leaving no next of kin to claim their right to inherit the land. Hmmmmmmm.

It’s Jacob that the teens decide to try to contact through their seance, but while some lights flicker and the like it’s no really clear whether they managed to get through to him or whether it was the result of the storm outside.

Still, not long after this the six start dying one by one. Is the ghost of Jacob doing it, or is there a more logical, criminal explanation for what’s going on?

The last episode of The Weakest Link had an unexpected ending
The last episode of The Weakest Link had an unexpected ending

I’d love to tell you I thoroughly enjoyed Bad Kids Go To Hell, but I’d also love to tell you that I scored the winning goal for Celtic in the 1967 European Cup final.

Instead, I spent most of the film infuriated at loads of niggly little examples of brazenness that combined to rub me up the wrong way.

Chief offender is the attempt at a ‘slick’ production value, which tries to make up for its ropey CGI (in particular one scene involving thousands of N64-era cockroaches) with an abundance of fancy but completely unnecessary shots.

At times the camera doesn’t just move smoothly across the room, it switches between slow and quick while achingly moody Matrix-style techno music plays. This would be cool if the shot wasn’t simply showing, for example, someone sitting on some stairs.

Look, it's people standing around a desk! UNLEASH THE DUBSTEP
Look, it’s people standing around a table! UNLEASH THE DUBSTEP

The majority of the cast also embodies this spirit of trying far too hard by busting out the sort of over-the-top performances you’d expect from a high school drama class.

While not exactly convincing anyone that they’re actually teenagers (this is your typical ’28-year-olds pretending they’re 17′ effort: just check out the group pic at the top of this review), with a bit of subtlety this could have actually been an interesting little murder mystery story.

Instead we’re stuck with a bunch of extreme characters all trying their best to outdo each other with snarky lines, unfunny jokes and tough speak.

Kids and their laziness these days. I blame video games
Kids and their laziness these days. I blame video games

When done properly, a film consisting mainly of notorious characters can feel a little like a room with dangerous snakes in it. If each is given their own space, we get time to study each of them and come to the conclusion that “yup, these are all deadly as fuck.”

This, however, is more like someone bundling a load of snakes into a big sack and swinging it over their head, yelling “snaaaaakes, look at my snaaaaakes”. Or something.

Tolerate its constant bravado and Bad Kids Go To Hell does have a decent wee story tucked away underneath all the smarmy one-liners and walking caricatures. It’s just a shame you feel like punching a hole through the wall before you get to it.


Bad Kids Go To Hell‘s low rating earns it a place in the notorious TWABM Hall Of Shame. Click here to see what other pishfests made the grade (or, indeed, failed to).

Bad Kids Go To Hell is available on DVD in the US, and on DVD in the UK where it’s known by an alternative title, The Haunting Of Crestview High.


One thought on “Bad Kids Go To Hell (2012) review

  1. I havent seen this film – thoroughly enjoyed the blunt review however – but would opine its pretty unrealistic to assume that kids at school know literally a scrap of information about their school’s history…enough to conduct a seance! I genuinely struggle to remember key details of my own life on a day to day basis…

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