There's a certain appeal for young folks in watching rich, spoiled, beautiful kids -- and in watching their downfall -- so it's no surprise that these sort of teens are the focus of the horror-comedy movie Bad Kids Go to Hell.  This non-serious movie, based on the comic book of the same name, revolves around the elite teens of the world, stuck in the detention from hell.

With echoes of The Breakfast Club (underscored by casting Judd Nelson as the headmaster), Bad Kids Go to Hell opens with the police breaking into a barricaded room, to find Matt (Cameron Deane Stewart) holding an axe and surrounded by corpses -- including a headless body that falls over.  We jump ahead eight hours earlier, when six Crestview Academy students are being locked into the school library for detention.  Veronica (Augie Duke) is a goth who believes in the supernatural.  Megan (Amanda Alch) seems like a shy nerd with an inhaler -- but she has a wild side.  Tricia (Ali Faulkner) is a vain beauty whose mother is an ambitious politician.  Craig (Roger Edwards) is a jock stumbling around on crutches.  Tarek (Mark Donato) gets flak for being Arabic.  And Matt has the biggest reputation as a troublemaker -- not to mention one of the poor kids at Crestview.

Dr. Day (Jeffrey Schmidt) somehow thinks locking these six troublemakers together for detention is a good idea, so on the first day of winter break he gets them together, confiscates their phones and electronics, and locks them in the library.  Only he and the slightly slow janitor Max (Ben Browder) seem to know they're there.
Rather than bonding, the students start sniping and fighting with each other.  But when things start to get weird -- and they begin dying -- there's no way for them to escape, or call for help.  Is what's happening revenge from the ghost of the Indian whose land was stolen to build Crestview Academy?  Is one of the troublemakers killing off the others?  Does it have to do with a conspiracy, revealed bit by bit in each student's flashbacks?  Or is something else going on?

Bad Kids Go to Hell revels in slickness and meanness, from the superficially perfect teens to the dark comedy of the killings and murders.  Alas, that doesn't make up for the fact that none of the characters are the slightest bit likeable (though it turns out Matt's reputation comes from his every attempt to do the right thing going horribly wrong).  There are some decent scares and misdirects, but Bad Kids Go to Hell ultimately feels more like a MTV original movie than a try at redoing suspense-horror for the teenage generation.  (DVD extras include standard behind-the-scenes material, plus comparisons between the movie and comic book visuals.)

Overall grade: D
Reviewed by James Lynch

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