‘They have everything under control’
School of the Damned is a 2019 British science fiction horror feature film about special kids that can kill using their minds alone.
It is obviously inspired by Hammer Films’ Village of the Damned (1960), which was based on John Wyndham’s novel The Midwich Cuckoos, and also led to the 1995 remake of the same name directed by John Carpenter.
Directed by Peter Vincent from a screenplay written by Philip Dyas (A Fistful of Lead; Viking Siege), the Dead Pixel Production stars Michael Geary (For We Are Many; Soul Reaper), James Groom, Daisy Aitkens, Craig Russell and aforementioned Philip Dyas.
When new teacher, Mr Middleton, leaves his inner-city, London school and arrives at a British village to work at the local grammar, it doesn’t take long for him to start feeling uncomfortable. The place is strange – students are extremely and unanimously well behaved, eerily unlike usual children of that age.
The single difficult student is the new kid, Georgie, who is violently injured in a fight, even though the school is adamant, ‘there are no fights here…’ Mr Middleton is surprised to discover a very young student from a “special class” was responsible.
The four kids in this class are – exceptional. Each forming a hive mind, that keeps the students and teachers in the school calm and focused thanks to the medication provided by an undercover government experiment.
The result is that these socially under-developed children force any wrongdoers to pay for their actions with murderous results. When the deaths start being uncovered, Mr Middleton begins investigating…
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“I liked the frequent references to Huxley’s ‘Brave New World,’ the book that Middleton teaches in his class, as a metaphor for the hive mind’s wider purpose. Sure Vincent isn’t ashamed to plunder from his influences to put his story together, but as a debut feature this was very watchable, and I really liked Brad Watson’s creepy theme tune as well.” Dark Eyes of London
“The movie makes no mention to having any association with Village of the Damned despite copying the shotgun scene from that movie and is more of a stand-alone cheap copy that takes the concept from that movie and fails to do anything with it. The whole thing was pretty much underwhelming. Whilst the movie isn’t a complete write-off, it really isn’t anything to spend time on either.” Reel Horror Show
“School of the Damned was director Peter Vincent’s first film and he only had eight days to shoot it. That he managed to get anything other than generic direct to video camera work done is a minor triumph. But the script from Philip Dyas (Viking Siege, A Fistful of Lead) has little feel for the genre and wastes these flashes of inspiration.” Voices from the Balcony
In the USA, School of the Damned was released on DVD by 4Digital Media on November 5, 2019. A British release is scheduled for January 2020.
Cast and characters:
- Michael Geary … Abbott
- James Groom … Tony
- Daisy Aitkens … Ms Murphy
- Craig Russell … Agent Stone
- Philip Dyas … Mr Cassidy
- Sophie Willis … Jemima
- Amelie Willis … Sarah
- Sarah Cullum … Mrs Holmes
- Aidan Largey Poland … Marquand