Film

The ‘Bad Kids’ Sequel Mashes Slasher Films with ‘Veronica Mars’ but Somehow Isn’t Fun

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The Bad Kids of Crestview Academy is a sequel, and if you’re asking yourself, “Of what?” you’re not alone. Just add to that the question of: “Why?” The original low-budget mega-gore film Bad Kids Go to Hell had a modestly kitschy, fun premise to match its title: The Breakfast Club goes slasher. Judd Nelson was even cast as the principal. That film earned modest-to-bad reviews, but certainly not enough love to warrant a return. Now, the original premise has been ditched for Breakfast Club goes Veronica Mars — then slasher — with Sean Astin and Gina Gershon taking over for Nelson. And if Gershon’s name riles up fantasies of Showgirls-level vulgarity, just shut down that pleasure center of your brain right now: There’s very little fun to be had with the camp of Bad Kids.

“Poor” girl Siouxsie (Sammi Hanratty) tries to solve her sister’s murder by joining a bunch of rich kids in detention on a Sunday to flush out the killer, but then each one dies a mysterious — and not nearly grisly enough — death. I’m scare-quoting “poor,” because she’s supposed to be an “undercrust scum,” but the heroine rides a fancy motorcycle and talks and looks exactly like everybody else, just a little sluttier. The film sorely misses the kinds of cheesy character tics and attributes that make low-budget gems sing with self-awareness, á la the best of Roger Corman. Fortunately, one character, creepy janitor Max (Ben Browder), takes cues from schlumpy henchman Torgo in the MST3K target Manos: The Hands of Fate, which is a little delightful if you care about Torgo. (Browder’s also directing this film.)

Ultimately, everything you need to know about the lazy writing and humor in Bad Kids can be gleaned from a single sentence the sleazy gay Latino, Brian Marquez (AKA Latin Spice, played by Matthew Frias), says as he defends his penchant for public bathroom sex: “Oh, dad, everyone knows you have to go where the dick is.” That’s neither a joke nor a revelatory truism, just like how this movie is neither funny nor worth watching.

The Bad Kids of Crestview Academy

Directed by Ben Browder

Momentum Pictures

Opens January 12, Cinema Village

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