Bad Kids Go to Hell (R)

Comedy 91 December 7, 2012
By Simon Abrams
Like many bratty horror-comedies starring teenage protagonists, Bad Kids Go to Hell stinks because its creators try too hard to prove that they're down with the kids. A charmless locked-room mystery, Bad Kids follows six media-obsessed teens assigned to weekend detention in a haunted library. The film positions itself as a manic mash-up of The Breakfast Club and Ten Little Indians: Breakfast star Judd Nelson plays the high schoolers' headmaster. But as time passes and more teens die, it becomes apparent that director/co-writer Matthew Spradlin just doesn't know how to make his meat-puppet victims sound hip, agitated, and young. Layered flashbacks that reveal the conspiracy uniting all six teens desperately rely on camera-phones and YouTube videos to establish their modernity. But the film’s tediously smug dialogue-- "Word. Gotta love the YouTube!"-- is never appreciably clever or funny, and Spradlin never shows that he knows how to pace a comic scene. Even goofy montages, like the one where a pair of perky blond cheerleaders get beaned in the face by basketballs, are botched in the timing. Lame smartass quips and bland lowbrow humor are all that Bad Kids Go to Hell has to offer. These are moviemakers who lean hard on a running gag in which Nelson's character calls a wheelchair-bound student "retarded," though he's clearly physically disabled. Instead of being cannily goofy, Bad Kids Go to Hell is just plain dumb.
Matthew Spradlin Judd Nelson, Cameron Deane Stewart, Augie Duke, Amanda Alch, Ali Faulkner, Marc Donato, Roger Edwards, Ben Browder, Jeffrey Schmidt, Chanel Ryan Matthew Spradlin, Barry Wernick Barry Wernick, Brad Keller BKGTH Productions LLC.

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