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F (DQ)


Stars: David Schofield, Eliza Bennett, Ruth Gemmell, Finlay Robertson, Juliet Aubrey, Emma Cleasby

Director: Johannes Roberts

This school-under-siege thriller begins with the story of a teacher under pressure. Head-butted by a student for making derogatory remarks about his work, veteran teacher Anderson (Schofield) is told by the head (Gemmell) that the parents are threatening to sue - and asked to take extended leave.

Already deserted by his wife (Aubrey) and held in contempt by his teenage daughter Kate (Bennett), a student at the school, he returns weeks later, but takes to drink.

Just as his career looks about to disappear down the toilet, the rest of the film concerns itself with an invasion of the school premises one evening by murderous teenage hoodlums, who burn one of the school's security team, then crawl along the tops of cupboards, lockers and bookshelves before pouncing on further victims. Soon only Anderson and his daughter are left alive.

We never see the faces of the young killers (presumably disenchanted ex-students given 'F' ratings for their work) and it would have been nice if, say, the leader was revealed to be the student who brought about Anderson's downfall in the first place. Even so, what is the point of slaughtering janitors, cleaners and other students as well as the odd late-working teacher?

Along the way, in the trusted tradition of horror thrillers, people wander along deserted corridors, calling out 'Hello?' and 'Is someone there?', as you would. The film seems to end two-thirds of the way through, which perhaps accounts for the brief running time.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Optimum. Eastman Colour.
78 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 15 Sep 2010