Made before the Covid-19 pandemic, this blackly comic teen thriller tells the story of – you guessed it – the aftermath of a deadly epidemic event in England.
In this fictional tale, the vast majority of the population is wiped out, with people dropping dead in the street, and teenage Lee (Kennedy) finds himself home alone after his dad dies. His far away, armed forces mum advises him to go back to the safety of his countryside boarding school, unaware that Lee has been expelled by the headmaster (Head).
When Lee does go back to school, he finds a few survivors including a teacher (Alex Macqueen), the school nurse (Jasmine Blackborow) and his best friend, Sean (Liam Lau Fernandez). But school is probably not the safest place to be, as neighbouring villagers become a militia and demand entry into the building, the kids turn on each other and it all becomes a bit Lord Of The Flies as a battle for survival begins.
With a sharp script from director Oliver Milburn (based on Scott K Andrews’ book) this romps along with some nice surprises as no character, good or bad, is safe from harm. Sadly, because of this some of the cast are woefully underused – including Anthony Head and Steve Oram, who only has a brief cameo – but the actors who are cast as school boys are enjoyable, especially leads Kennedy and Fernandez.
Enjoyably gruesome (note that this is definitely not for under 15s), this doesn’t quite get the balance of shock, horror and comedy quite right (it has funny moments, but they aren’t funny enough) but does a fair job of borrowing elements from Lord Of The Flies, Shaun Of The Dead, and Red Dawn and wrapping them in a fast-paced package that is often enjoyably dark.
Is School’s Out Forever suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 15 certificate (UK) movie, and is aimed at teens/young adults, not younger kids. Parents should regard this as a teen horror.
Various characters are killed in grisly ways, and injuries are often shown. There are also scenes in which characters are threatened with violence and near torture.
The pandemic theme may upset sensitive viewers.
There is also some bad language and drug use shown.
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