Study Hell

Study Hell was written and directed by Mark McNabb on what appears to have been a budget of zero and some refreshments. The cast consists mainly of nobodies, in terms of the Hollywood walk of fame, and they act out parts in a plot summed up as this: A group of kids find themselves in after school detention, supervised by a teacher gone crazy from Vietnam war shell-shock. The kids look for a way to escape the school as the teacher hunts them down, killing them one by one.

Sometimes you can get some poor picture quality on low-budget flicks, but right off the bat I’ll say this one did not bother me so much at all. Visually there isn’t much content, but at the same time what is on the screen is clear enough. The story premise seemed quirky and interesting, a slasher film with a teacher who was a former soldier going nuts; equals cool to me. However, what we get is mild slasher version of the Breakfast Club, and I say mild because all of the kill shots and potential gory horror scenes are missing.

The special effects were obviously not in the budget, with kills being reduced to the camera cutting away from the actual action. However, that wouldn’t be my biggest gripe, overall it was probably the obnoxious acting of the students that bugged me most. The adult actors in the film were on-par with their performances, with the villain working fine. The actors and actresses playing the kids in detention though all seem to recite their lines in monotone. Each has their own individual voice, but aside from the brunette female character, none of them show any emotion or voice pitch changes, very bland and annoying acting. The stoner character especially is annoying since his monotone voice is belting out a whiny type of yell all of the time.

Something I was confused about involved the location of the film. The Janitor in one scene appears to be dusting off a plaque honoring Canadians who died in Vietnam. However, I never got the feeling that this was supposed to be a Canadian high school, maybe I missed something, and overall the fact that a teacher was going on a killing spree because of having been in war seemed funny to me considering the generally peaceful reputation of Canada. If I read that plaque right then that’s possibly an error, because other sources tell me Canada did not fight in Vietnam.

Aside from the acting  the reason Study Hell is probably getting torn to shreds by reviewers left and right is because it leans on a premise that feels like it should be more fun and campy, along the lines of maybe a Breakfast Club spoof. However, it doesn’t deliver with the pace and tone being hindered by too many thing, mainly the lack of action shots and poor acting as discussed above. There aren’t any jokes attempted unless you count the stoner guy’s attempts at calling the teacher gay, which didn’t really even make sense.

The ending is 100% not worth sitting through the film for. If the movie had a good ending then perhaps I would not be joining in the choir of haters singing about how crappy the film is. The journey to the complete crap ending isn’t as bad as some films, but when putting the two together, crap ending and the rest of Study Hell, you’ll get something hellishly dull. I wouldn’t recommend adding it to any rental lists, but if you already have it in an online rental que or elsewhere, might as well let it show up and formulate your own opinion. I’ve shared my thoughts and am moving on to forgetting the movie.

2 thoughts on “Study Hell”

  1. Wow, this sounds like something I won’t be seeing. FYI – I can’t say for sure because I haven’t seen this movie, but I’m thinking the Canadians dying in Vietnam thing is probably a joke. Director or writer thought it would be funny or something.

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