There are a number of movies that have been made based on comics. In the last few years we’ve seen a handful a year hit the big screen. Occasionally, we get an indie darling or critical hit based on a lesser known comic. Then, an even rarer appearance, is the movie based on a horror comics, such as 30 Days of Night or Blade. Now, while both of these movies hold their own as entertaining movies in their own right, sometimes we get something like Bad Kids Go To Hell.
Bad Kids Go To Hell is like watching a really terrible episode of Gossip Girl. Six prep school kids from Crestview Academy must attend a weekend detention in a supposedly haunted library under renovation. While we slowly uncover small back stories on every kid, the main “bad boy” is Matt, who has made his way to the punishment by breaking a number of school rules by tackling a handicapped student and throwing basketballs into other peoples faces.
Eventually, after a slow-building set-up that involves a number of too-good-to-be-true coincidences and attempts at witty meta self-references, the students decide to hold a seance. The goth girl Veronica, played by Augie Duke, calls upon the dead Native American who is said to haunt the library and after a few lights flashing and some screaming, the students started getting knocked off one by one by terrible accidents.
The biggest flaw behind Bad Kids is that it just tries too hard and ends up falling short in nearly every category. The dialogue makes many attempts at being witty and appealing to the Gilmore Girl/Dawson’s Creek quick wit crowd but nothing sticks and more often than not it just sounds like a bunch of douchebag kids arguing about nothing. It desperately tries to add depth to the altogether unlikeable cast but each of the flashbacks we see that give us insight into the students just make us care that much less about them. Being flawed is something essential to empathize with a character, being a terrible person just makes you happy when they die.
A number of other issues plague the movie as well. Nonsensical details such as library doors made of titanium alloy and wire cages put around every window in the building due to it’s renovation, these are the things that make you question whether or not you can even take the movie seriously as a “horror film.” It’s pace is slow and dull and when the horror does hit it’s in a string of random jump scares that follow no line of sense or direction of the plot. They jump around from loud guttural screams, distorted ghostly holograms, poorly animated insects, and silly “Indian” related deaths. Keeping in step with the few and far between scares are a multitude of oddly placed slow motion sequences that grow tiresome by the third time around. If you manage to drag yourself through the second half of the movie you’re rewarded with the obligatory twist ending and ridiculous amount of poorly remixed American dubstep.
To be honest, not much redeems this movie. Judd Nelson makes a few cameo appearances, almost all of which are the most entertaining seconds of the film, and the entire premise has promise. Perhaps that’s the most frustrating part: to know that it could have been so much better. It is Matt Spradlin’s first foray into filmmaking, but seeing as he also penned the graphic novel on which the movies is based, it seems that he should have had a better handle on the script.