Into the Dark 11: School Spirit


Main Cast: Annie Q., Corey Fogelmanis

Director: Mike Gan

So you’ve got a jock, a princess, a burnout, a basket case and a nerd all in Saturday detention.  A couple of them seem to know each other, a couple seem to know OF each other, but none of them are what you’d call friends.  Their vice principal is in charge of detention but instead of supervising, he assigns them a task and then goes to his office to attend to his own work.

As the day progresses, the teens sneak out of the library to retrieve some weed one of them has stashed in their locker, then back to the library where they proceed to get high.  By the end of the day, they may not be friends, but they all definitely have a better understanding of each other and their own personal prejudices.  And we the audience have a timeless classic we all saw dozens of times growing up.

Obviously I’m talking about THE BREAKFAST CLUB.

And why am I talking about THE BREAKFAST CLUB?  Because the 11th INTO THE DARK movie from Hulu, this time celebrating the first day of school, clearly got 99% of its inspiration from this John Hughes classic.  Then someone somewhere along the way said hey what if the kids in that movie were being stalked by a killer?

And that, literally, is all there was to it.  Or at least that’s the way it seems to me.  I could be wrong.  It happened once before 24 years ago.

However, in this case, I feel pretty confident I’m right.

In SCHOOL SPIRIT, written by Pat Casey, Josh Miller and Mike Gan (who also directed), Brett, Lizzy, Vic, and Russ are joined in Saturday detention by Erica Yang, the Harvard-bound senior class president.  Instead of essays, their VP, Mr. Armstrong, assigns them an even worse task; to scrape the gum off the bottoms of all the tables and chairs in the library.

Obviously, they only work as long as he’s in the room, but once he goes to his office, they immediately leave to get weed from Lizzy’s locker and Russ goes to steal some booze from well-known alcoholic Armstrong.

Not as easy as it all sounds as the school is technically on lockdown after two students went missing just before the start of the year.  Some say it’s the school spirit responsible, the ghost of a teacher the kids played a prank on—the prank backfired and the teacher died and they dressed her up as the school mascot, the Admiral, for some reason. Legend has it the school spirit haunts the halls and takes away the bad students.

And, yeah, obviously that’s exactly what happens.  Russ gets it first, decapitated by a paper cutter.  Next up is … actually I don’t remember.  It was an hour ago and already I’ve blocked out parts of SCHOOL SPIRIT.

When a movie is as derivative as this, I think—and this is just my opinion; remember, I have been wrong before—that you should do as many passes as necessary to, at the very least, make sure the dialogue sings.  But this is, holy crap, some terrible dialogue.  Let’s just take a line from the trailer, where, you know, most of the best lines are supposed to be: “Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten high and told ghost stories.”

God, that line gives me the shivers, and not because it’s creepy, but because it’s creepy that anyone wrote it and then decided not to rewrite it into a good line.

And if their plan was to try to hide who the real killer is until the big reveal at the end, holy crap did they not pull that one off.  Not even a little bit.  In fact, I almost felt as if they wanted us to know who the killer was the whole time.  But again, I was wrong before that one time, so who knows?

The acting was mediocre, the kills were so-so, and overall the experience of watching SCHOOL SPIRIT … I’ll just say before my girlfriend came in and started watching with me, I was dozing off, and that was the first 15 minutes of the movie.

Only one more movie in the first season of the Into the Dark movies, and I can tell you the trailer for the last one is already a better movie than what I just watched.  No thanks to SCHOOL SPIRIT.

More Into the Dark

The Body ~ Flesh and Blood ~ Pooka! ~ New Year, New You ~ Down ~ Treehouse ~ I’m Just F*cking With You ~ All That We Destroy ~ They Come Knocking ~ Culture Shock

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