DETENTION OF THE DEAD (2012) Reviews and overview

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‘When there is no more room in Hell the dead go to detention’

Detention of the Dead is a 2012 American comedy horror film directed by Alex Craig Mann from a screenplay co-written with Rob Rinow, based on the latter’s stage play.

The Gala Films production stars Jacob Zachar, Alexa Nikolas, Christa B. Allen, Jayson Blair and Justin Chon.


A group of teenagers trapped in detention fight for survival after their classmates turn into a ravenous zombie horde. Can a stoner, a jock, a bully, a goth, and a nerd put aside their differences for one night to take on the undead? Will they live to see the morning?


“The jokes are on the juvenile scale of the spectrum […] And, there are fart jokes, so the comedy is fairly hit and miss. This reviewer enjoyed the zombie rat in the ducts, but the laughs are fairly sparse. The plot is a little thin, overall.” 28 Days Later Analysis

Detention of the Dead soon grows tiring, unable to congeal as a formidable braiding of ugliness and teen vulnerability. There’s a nice breezy quality of awareness and panic communicated by the eager cast, but the picture isn’t managed to satisfaction, fumbling jokes, breaking up soaring soundtrack cues, and generally leaning on influences instead of developing a personality of its own.”

“There are some very entertaining moments, including character Ash’s reversion to his Asian language as he angrily kills a zombie, and Ash’s attempts to free a zombie arm from character Eddie’s crotch. The cast of characters, whether intentionally or not, are broad and bland high school movie archetypes, many of whom don’t have much depth to them.” Cinema Crazed

“There’s some decent jokes, a few novel character turns, and a wealth of welcome low budget atmosphere on display. But unlike some homemade horror films, Detention pretends to be professional, when it’s really just a fan-made front. Mann understands what he wants to offer. Unfortunately, some in the audience won’t like what he has to give.” DVD Talk

” …the action never feels slow, even when very little is happening. The film tends to aspire to be something greater than it is, which is inevitable when you deliver a tagline like The Breakfast Club meets Shaun of the Dead, but it manages to be a solid entry into the zombie genre.” The Film Reel

“With makeup and gore effects that could be bested by moderately gifted fanboys at a well equipped high school, Detention never manages a single scare — a failing that would be forgivable if only it were making us laugh.” The Hollywood Reporter

“Trailing intestines look like links of undercooked butchers’ sausages, while the zombies’ bloodied faces recall the survivors of a State Fair pie-eating contest rather than monsters’ raging lust for human flesh. And the cutting is slack, especially in the dialogue, when pauses at the end of every line suggest the actors are waiting for an audience’s response.” Pop Matters

“If you don’t like light-hearted jabs, coming-of-age quirks, zero atmospheric darkness, societal commentary, and plot material succeeding that probably shouldn’t, then this film might feel like you’re actually stuck in detention, forced to sit silently until the credits roll.” We Got This Covered

Cast and characters:

Jacob Zachar … Eddie – The Hive
Alexa Nikolas … Willow
Christa B. Allen … Janet
Jayson Blair … Brad
Justin Chon … Ash
Max Adler … Jimmy
Joseph Porter … Mark
Michele Messmer … Mrs Rumblethorp
Jonathan Coogan … Guidance Counsellor Zombie
Richard Jewell … Colonel
Adam DeFilippi … Jock Zombie
Jennifer Wellbaum … Rich Girl Zombie
Bernie Allemon … Little Person Zombie
Don Richard … Raging Zombie
Dave Fogel … Zombie Student

Technical credits:

87 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2:35: 1

Filming locations:

Filming began in Spring 2011 in Pontiac, Michigan.


Detention of the Dead had a small theatrical release in Los Angeles on June 28, 2013, and was released on DVD by Anchor Bay on July 23, 2013.

Other titles:

School of the Living Dead: Nachsitzen mit Zombies – Germany
Zombie High School – Japan

More zombies

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