The Haunting of Crestview High (aka Bad Kids go to Hell) is your classic popcorn slasher and a good one at that! By this I mean that for 90minutes, forget that you may have seen about a thousand slasher films, forget the heritage of the genre, and forget about your opinionated bias – and just watch the f!#king movie!
This movie makes no bones about what it is trying to convey, and personally, I respect that. This is a slick production aimed at creating a silk veil over a simple by the numbers slasher. A films whose goal in life is not to pay dewy eyed homage to the 1980s or to reinvent what has been done a thousand times before, but to entertain. The bombastic opener introduces a range of cast - aka fresh meat for the grinder. Each of the characters are introduced in style with an extensive use of slow-motion video, blaring music to match each of the bad girl/boy cliché personas they represent. This is ‘Crestview’ a school for the elite and privileged. We see an assembly of pupils all brought together for a detention owed to some fairly outrageous behaviour ranging from cripple abuse to stripping in class!
Yeah, these are some fairly unlikable teens, and throughout the movie they offer no evidence to the contrary. Each is bigoted in their own way, each with their own self-indulgent insecurities and skeletons in the closet. The only reason we may get attached to them at all is that, as the movie progresses, we see a glimpse of the necessary back story for each pupil, who they are, and how they wound up in detention. These back stories are wildly entertaining, utterly ludicrous, tenuously linked, but amusing enough to watch.
It’s not long before the threat is realised and the point of no return is reached. A violent storm outside, the complete lockdown of the building and the group dynamics shifting from bitching at one another, to complete hostility. In between flashbacks the group are constantly hampered with some fairly weird goings on. Supposedly the school is haunted, harassed by a Native American spirit who was forced to re-located (and subsequently vanished) when the school needed to expand. But something doesn’t sit quite right, and sure enough as the movie progresses there is definitely more going on than meets the eye. Then, needless to say, as the number of living students begins to dwindle there comes a big reveal!
As I said, this is slasher horror by the numbers!
The killings are spaced out sufficiently to allow for good pacing. The gore effects range from pretty gruesome to pretty fake! The prosthetic stuff looks really good, the digital stuff, not so much! Considering the polish of the rest of the production the CGI looks really bad, especially the stormy exterior shots, which is a shame, because it betrays the budget something terrible. Still, back to the gore and we have some fairly good kill-shots, especially considering its 15 certificate – the impalement of a heart on a crutch and the nail gun finale are amongst my favourite, and these scenes are really well done. I didn’t feel short changed which is saying something in itself.
Throw in a couple of amusing scenarios and conversations, delivered from a reasonably competent cast and you fill in the rest of the time quite comfortably.
Overall as I said in my opener this movie is a definite watch for any fan of popcorn horror. If you enjoyed movies such as ‘Urban Legend’ from back in the day, and more recent entries such as ‘Bloody Homecoming’ and ‘Red Mist’ then you will undoubtedly enjoy this. ‘The Haunting of Crestview High’ is released by 101 films.