STUDENT BODY (2022) Reviews and overview of comedic slasher

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‘See you after class.’
Student Body is a 2022 American slasher horror film about high school students being stalked and killed by a crazed teacher.

Written and directed by Lee Ann Kurr making her feature directorial debut. Produced by Sandra Leviton and Rachel Liu.

The Under The Stairs Entertainment-Hyperbolic Media production stars Christian Camargo, Montse Hernandez, Cheyenne Haynes, Anthony Keyvan, Harley Quinn Smith, Austin Zajur, Ty Trumbo, Maurice Hall and Suehyla El-Attar.

Plot synopsis:
High school student Jane Shipley (Montse Hernandez), who seeks to mend her splintering relationship with childhood best friend Merritt (Cheyenne Haynes), and fit in with Merritt’s rebellious clique.

When Jane’s math teacher Mr Aunspach (Christian Camargo) oversteps his bounds, an apathetic high school administration forces Jane and Merritt to take matters into their own hands, driving their relationship into further turmoil and inciting deadly consequences…

Review:
A close-knit group of self-centred, mostly-annoying rich college students – a couple of whom are played by actors who seem too old for their parts – use their influence to get a teacher sacked, play a prank on another teacher and (eventually) get stalked and killed… one-by-one. Déjà Vu, anyone?

First-time feature filmmaker Lee Ann Kurr was obviously more interested in delivering snarky and supposedly amusing dialogue (though a few lines raise a faint smile), however, as a slasher pastiche Student Body fails miserably.

In practical terms, the plot takes great pains to show how the entire school is fitted with unbreakable glass. Yet much of that same glass is surrounded by wood. Yes, easily gouged, breakable wood. The ‘kids’ have a metal crowbar and access to many other tools yet can’t jimmy open a window frame and push out the unbreakable glass? Such contrivances show a lack of commonsense and disrespect for the characters created and viewers alike.

The killer wears a soccer mascot’s ‘funny’ outfit which might have seemed to be creepy yet simply isn’t. One of the killings occurs while ‘The Four Seasons’ plays on the soundtrack. Yep, Student Body is like an old TV advert when Vivaldi was all the rage. And with zero nostalgia value cos, it’s all so contrived. And dull. No one should care if these fake facile rich kid characters live or die. And neither will you.
Adrian J Smith

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Other reviews:
“Sedate compared to Joseph Kahn’s Red Bull-fueled, kitchen-sink concoction Detention but still wanting to be glib and clever, this colorful teen-slasher muddle feels too hesitant to be fun and too confused at what it wants to actually achieve.” The Artful Critic

” …the framing and sound design allows our minds to fill in the gaps of what’s happening and how brutal it is without needing to push it right in our faces […] I’m all for more slashers, obviously, but I’m also even more for ones that work. This one does.” B&S About Movies

“The silent conflict between Jane and Merritt has its moments of intrigue that audiences will certainly want to learn more about, but the writing doesn’t dig deep enough into their past and eroded bond. All these flaws come together for a film that, while it has some neat characters and interesting enough suspense, ends up coming across muddy in what it is striving to express and show.” Bloody Disgusting

” …an incredibly disappointing movie and one that feels so painfully average while watching it. The performances are all quite good, though […] Student Body will most definitely leave you feeling cold and empty by the time the credits roll.” Caillou Pettis Movie Reviews

Student Body has strong and arduous performances from Montse Hernandez, Cheyenne Haynes, Christian Camargo and among the others, but sleeps on its own message of growth and has a soporific slasher surface under its sleek cinematography and diverse soundtrack.” It’s Bloggin Evil!

“Though the film has moments where it shines, it simply doesn’t have enough of them, and it quickly abandons its most interesting ideas. School as a source of horror can be relevant and terrifying — who among us hasn’t had a frightening teacher or a school that undermined our safety? — but Student Body sets up a premise it can’t deliver on and fails its own test.” Nightmarish Conjurings

“There’s nothing new here, but like all tales of thrills and chills, there’s always a chance at striking some new, unclaimed gold […] Jane and her friends are soon running for their lives from a mask-wearing, sledgehammer wielding maniac killer. Eventually, that slasher trope list is being checked off one by one. Of course, it just takes a while to get to that point…” One of Us

“The idea of a mascot—even this paper mâché lookin’ metalsmith get-up—slaughtering students sounds like tremendous fun, but […] Student Body can be graded on a slight curve due to the capable ensemble, however, neon lighting floods aren’t enough to inject zip and vigor into a continual chase with reusable hammer bashes that dispatch characters with ease.” Paste

Student Body has its moments but is ultimately a missable horror movie. The performances are what one might expect from a young cast and writer-director Lee Ann Kurr (Lindsey Luff: Remind Me) does little to subvert the genre. The antagonist is certainly menacing, but there are almost no jump scares and the scares that do populate the movie are nothing to write home about.” 1.5/5 Screen Rant

“Unfortunately, Student Body doesn’t lean into the good as much as it leans into trying to fit into the horror-comedy genre, and thus the execution is off and sometimes cringey. The dialog, especially from French and Merritt, often is unnatural and is either trying to force a joke or a persona that is a trope of horror films.” 79% Wherever I Look

Release date:
In North America, 1091 Pictures will release Student Body On-Demand on February 8th 2022.

Background:
“For me, this film is about the all-too-real terror of growing up, especially as a young woman,” writer/director Lee Ann Kurr has said. “The horror/thriller genre space was perfect to plumb the depths of that terror. Equally perfect is the film’s ensemble of young, stunningly talented actors— their performances bring a new ‘Breakfast Club’ for this generation to life. Only now, these students have way more to worry about than detention… and isn’t that the scary truth for all students in 2021?”

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