A film review? Not only that but a film that has nothing to do with comics? Well… sort of. “School’s Out Forever” is the first feature film from Rebellion Studios, those lovely people that give us 2000AD, Judge Dredd and the British Treasury Of Comics. So I thought I’d check it out, because it’s only polite.
It’s loosely based on a trilogy of books from the late 2000s, veering off into it’s own story after the initial set up. It’s a bit of a shame they didn’t go for the original story as it sounds better, but wouldn’t have contained the same sort of action as we ended up with here.
The focus is on Lee, pupil at a posh school, though expelled in the first five minutes. There are bigger problems, though, as he’s taken home to a country starting to feel the effects of a pandemic that basically kills everyone except those with O negative blood (that’s seven per cent of the population, fact fans!) Lee is told by his mother, a soldier off elsewhere (same blood type) to go to the school and wait for her there. He does so, and bands with others who have survived (and I assume were there anyway as it’s a boarding school). After a confrontation with neighbouring gun wielding assholes, they end up facing off against an angry mob (led by Samantha Bond, no less) who are convinced that one of their own is inside the school. They are then given an UTTERLY RIDICULOUS twenty four hours to let them in before they force their way in. This is the only really dumb plot point, although there’s a couple of Lord Of the Flies esque situations that feel they’re in there because someone thought the film needed something like that to paint a certain character as a sociopath.
So we have a kind of “Assault On Precinct 13” type thing for half the film, whilst the first and better half builds the world and characters, doing a fantastic job. Despite the title and poster, this is a very serious movie with precious few light moments. Dialogue is good, direction is effective, and the mostly young actors do a fine job. For their debut feature, Rebellion have made an effective post plague thriller that is certainly enjoyable if you like dark stuff. That one dumb moment sort of spoiled it for me, but if you get the chance it’s certainly a film you won’t regret checking out.