Detention (2011 film)

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Detention 2011 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Kahn
Produced by
Written by
  • Joseph Kahn
  • Mark Palermo
Music byBrain and Melissa
CinematographyChristopher Probst
Edited byDavid Blackburn
Detention Films
Distributed bySamuel Goldwyn Films
Release date
  • March 13, 2011 (2011-03-13) (SXSW)
  • April 13, 2012 (2012-04-13) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million

Detention is a 2011 American satirical horror film directed by Joseph Kahn, and co-written with Mark Palermo.[1] The film premiered in March 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas.[2] Detention stars Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, and Dane Cook


A serial killer known as Cinderhella is on the loose and preying on Grizzly Lake High's student body. The principal is certain Cinderhella is a disgruntled student at the school and puts the likely suspects - including suicidal Riley, self-absorbed Ione, and hipster Clapton - in all-day (10:00 AM–10:00 PM) detention on prom night. Potentially trapped in a room with a murderer, Riley, Ione, and Clapton are forced to work together to stop Cinderhella from killing again, unaware that they're dealing with sinister supernatural forces.


Director Joseph Kahn and actress Shanley Caswell at the screening of Detention at the LA Film School, April 2012


Financed largely by Joseph Kahn himself, principal photography began in Los Angeles in August 2010 and finished shooting October 2010. The Director of Photography, Christopher Probst, shot the film digitally on Red Ones.[3] The production set visual effects supervisor is Chris Watts and post production visual effects supervision by Ingenuity Engine in Hollywood, California.[4] Production design for the film was done by veteran music video and commercial designer Marcelle Gravel.[5]


Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired this film's worldwide distribution rights.[6] The film was released to select theaters in the United States on April 13, 2012, by Samuel Goldwyn Films,[7] followed by a Canadian release on April 27.[8]

The film was released via DVD and Blu-ray on July 31, 2012.[9]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 41% based on 44 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 4.86/10.[10] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 45 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11]

Justine Elias from Slant Magazine gave the film 3/4 stars, writing, "For gorehounds lured in by the poster and trailer, Detention will be disappointingly un-gorey. But for pop-culture pilgrims intent on discovering an underground prize, look no further."[12] Brett Gallman from Oh, the Horror! gave the film a positive review, writing, "Smart, funny, and equally full of splatstick violence and heart, Detention isn’t just next-level horror--it’s next level everything, a senses-altering reaffirmation of cinema."[13] R.L. Shafer from IGN called it "a shockingly meaningful, potent film about the nature of meaninglessness and its damning effects on the younger generation".[14]

David Nusair from Reel Film Reviews awarded the film a mixed 2/4 stars, writing, "while Kahn deserves some credit for attempting something different within the teen-movie genre, Detention is simply (and finally) too weird and too off-the-wall to become anything more than a mildly amusing curiosity."[15] Nicolas Rapold from New York Times gave the film a negative review, writing, "Another entry in self-conscious one-upmanship, Detention is a horror comedy positively addled with retro references."[16] Peter Hartlaub from The San Francisco Chronicle hated the film, "There will be young moviegoers who proclaim this genius, and more stodgy audience members who find it torturous. If you're not tweeting and texting a combined 50 times or more per day, you're probably in the latter camp."[17]


Detention won the Youth Jury Prize at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival.[18] The film also won L’Écran Fantastique Prize 2011 at Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival as well as the Midnight Extreme Award at Spain's Sitges. London's Frightfest gave it the Biggest Surprise Award and organizer Alan Jones named Detention as his overall favorite film of the festival in 2011.[19] Critic Devin Faraci called Detention "Insane, Hyperkinetic, Next Level Filmmaking."[20] Drew McWeeny of Hitfix described it a "manic throwback horror comedy for the Twitter generation."[21] Quint of Aint-It-Cool-News raved "time traveling teen pop culture comedy Detention is a runaway freight train of frenetic energy!"[22] Renn Brown of CHUD said "Detention may very well be completely brilliant (5 of 5 stars)."[23] Kevin Sommerfield from Slasher Studios also gave it a glowing review stating the film "is Scream meets Scott Pilgrim with a dash or two of Kaboom, it makes for one wild cocktail."[24]


  1. ^ Palermo, Mark, "Fast Times at Grizzly Lake High", The Coast
  2. ^ Detention – SXSW 2011 Accepted Film on YouTube
  3. ^ Pollock, Jason (March 21, 2011). "SXSW/American Cinematographer – Detention's Christopher Probst". Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  4. ^ Barker, Andrew (April 1, 2011). "Detention". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  5. ^ "Movie". Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Sony Pictures Worldwide Takes On "Detention"". Indiewire. June 15, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  7. ^ Gilchrist, Todd (February 21, 2012). "'Detention:' Joseph Kahn's 'Time Traveling Horror Comedy' Scheduled for Release (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  8. ^ Howell, Peter (April 26, 2012). "Detention review: A meta mess". Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Haffner, Michael (May 25, 2012). "You are Scheduled to Report After School on July 31 for 'DETENTION' on DVD & Blu-ray". Destroy the Brain!. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Detention (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Flixer. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Detention Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Elias, Justine. "Detention". Slant Justine Elias. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Gallman, Brett. "Horror Reviews - Detention (2011)". Oh the Brett Gallman. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  14. ^ Shafer, R. "Detention Blu-ray Review - IGN". R.L. Shafer. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Nusair, David. "Two Thrillers from Sony - Reviews by David Nusair". Reel David Nusair. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Rapold, Nicolas. "'Detention,' Directed by Joseph Kahn". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  17. ^ Hartlaub, Peter. "Movie review: 'Detention' - SFGate". SF Peter Hartlaub. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "37th Seattle International Film Festival Wraps With 2011 Golden Space Needle Awards < News < Seattle International Film Festival". December 6, 2011. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  19. ^ Film Fests Fantastic Fest FrightFest UK (September 1, 2011). "FrightFest 2011: Ben's Report". Brutal As Hell. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  20. ^ "Movie Review: DETENTION Is Insane, Hyperkinetic, Next Level Filmmaking". Badass Digest. April 6, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  21. ^ McWeeny, Drew (March 16, 2011). "SXSW Review: Joseph Kahns Detention is manic throwback horror comedy for Twitter generation". Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  22. ^ "Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news". Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  23. ^ Brown, Renn (March 17, 2011). "Festival Review: DETENTION (SXSW '11)". Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  24. ^ Sommerfield, Kevin (August 2, 2012). "Hip "Detention" Plays As Wild Slasher Cocktail With No Hangover". Retrieved August 4, 2012.

External links[edit]