SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER (2021) Reviews and overview [updated]

 

School’s Out Forever is a 2021 British social-horror film about a teenager fleeing back to his school after a pandemic.

Written and directed by Oliver Milburn (The Harsh Light of Day), based on a novel by Scott K. Andrews, the Rebellion Developments production stars Oscar Kennedy, Alex Macqueen, Anthony Head, Samantha Bond and Steve Oram.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“With a story that draws heavily on Shaun of the Dead, World War Z,  Lord of the Flies and a nod towards  1968’s satire, ‘If…’, School’s Out Forever is proficiently made on a relatively small budget with several neatly handles set pieces and an enthusiastic cast.” Any Good Films

“I’m guessing the creatives behind this may have seen Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 film about warring public schoolboys, ‘If….’ a couple of times. The movie redeems itself with a rousing last half hour in which battle is waged within the school; brilliantly edited, brutal and bloody, these sequences almost make up for a plodding middle section.” Bloody Flicks

“There’s room for this to work as a genuinely dark study of privileged youth exercising violent fantasies without fear of consequences and also plenty of space for it to be a splattery comedy about Middle England […] Sadly, despite Milburn’s considerable gory flair, this is a movie that is simultaneously far too nasty and not nearly committed enough to its black heart.” Flickering Myth

“Milburn’s screenplay has a streak of dry wit but it never goes for cheap laughs. Instead, it’s a surprisingly bleak and merciless work, judiciously killing off both sympathetic and unlikable characters, including some of the kids and even an unfortunate pet, a line most films are too timid to cross but one that is entirely plausible given the circumstances.” The Guardian

“Milburn’s film might have benefitted from being played as straight horror or entirely as a comedy – the mix of the two doesn’t really offer a convincing result. In the same vein, the photography is a bit too classic and smooth […] School’s Out Forever is, however, a pleasant enough watch, and it ultimately distinguishes itself from a classic post-apocalyptic thriller, without falling into the clichés of a teen movie.” The Movie Waffler

“Milburn, keeping in mind that the books are aimed at young adults, turns away from the biggest deaths but he ensures we see the ones he can show in all their glory. He directs well and the kids, and adults, all perform well with Bond giving a menacing performance. School’s Out Forever is a fun all round movie…” OC Movie Reviews

” …fight scenes are well-executed, and are also often graphic (sometimes unnecessarily so). In all, School’s Out Forever does not quite know what point it is trying to make, but it still works as an escapist film that does not require too much deep thought or analysis (as long as the viewer separates the subject matter from the very real ongoing worldwide events).” The People’s Movies

Cast and characters:

Alex Macqueen … Mr Bates
Anthony Head … Headmaster
Samantha Bond … Georgina
Steve Oram … Terry Keegan
Oscar Kennedy … Lee Keegan
Sebastian Croft … Pugh
Gordon Alexander … John Smith
Max Raphael … Wylie
Freya Parks … Claire Baker
Robert Ryan … Militia
Jasmine Blackborow … Matron
Richard Elfyn … Mr Hammond
Paul O’Kelly … Shopkeeper
Ben Dilloway … Stanley
Lati Gbaja … Militia

Filming locations:

Shoreham, Kent, England (street scenes)
Swanley, Kent, England (street scenes)

Technical details:

105 minutes

Production:

Principal photography was shot in 2019, before the pandemic, so the film’s release now is timely.

Trailer:

YouTube reviews: