fredag 8 februari 2019

Boarding School

We all go through many different parts of life when we are confronted with changes, that may be a part of personal issues or unexpected turns. I am especially thinking about when we are young, when you don´t know what the future will bring. In some ways it is good to grow up with a rough past, because you know how difficult life can be. You learn to become stronger, and appreciate life in a different way than someone who have been served everything on a plate, without taking consequences. I had a lot of difficult moments in my youth, with everything from being a bully victim and being mentally humiliated by a family member for many years. Even if i wish i could make those years go away, i learned to pick myself up and focus on the future. And at this point, i know that no one can bring me down. My confidence is strong, and i hope more people can learn to see that everyone is unique. When we talk about movies that brings up the subject of rough times in school, we have some titles to choose between. One of the biggest classics in this genre is of course Brian De Palma´s classic horror film Carrie from 1976. Based on the novel by Stephen King. the story is about a bully victim by the name of Carrie White ( played by legendary actress Sissy Spacek ), who lives a very strict religious life with her mother Margaret White ( played by actress Piper Laurie ). Carrie really showed an honest portrait of how cruel students can be towards a person who is different from everyone, and you feel really sorry for Carrie. Director Brian De Palma managed to tell this story very effective from a horror perspective, and managed to capture the feeling of Stephen King´s novel ( i have read the book ). Another film that also turned out to be a well made horror film in school environment is The Awakening, released in 2011 from director Nick Murphy ( who also directed the British TV mini series The Secret ) The Awakening tell the story of hoax exposer Florence Cathcart ( lovely performance from actress Rebecca Hall ) who travels to reveal the truth at a boarding school for boys, where a child ghost have been seen. The Awakening is an interesting look into a ghost investigation, and manage to capture the time period of World War I as well. I was recently looking at Blu Ray releases from Germany, and came across a title i have never heard of. A film called Boarding School, that looked interesting. I got myself a copy, just to give the film a chance. A horror film at a boarding school, could this be more interesting than it sounds, or is this a low budget movie that no one will remember ?

Jacob Rathbone ( Luke Prael ) is an ordinary 13 year old boy, who sleeps with his light on. He have nightmares often, and his mother Isabel ( Samantha Mathis ) is frustrated with her son´s frequent nightmares. When Jacob is seen dancing in his dead grandmother´s dress, Jacob´s parents believe their son needs help. So he is send away to a boarding school led by Dr. Sherman ( Will Patton ) and his wife Mrs. Sherman ( Tammy Blanchard ). The other kids seems to be diagnosed with different disabilities, except for Christine Holcomb ( Sterling Jerins ). None of the children understand why they need to be at this boarding school, but is soon told to obey Dr. Sherman´s rules. What seems to be a normal boarding school, is about to reveal a disturbing truth, hidden within the house.

I am always happy to be surprised to see a movie i had no expectations about, and turns out to be better than i expected. This does not mean that Boarding School is a masterpiece in any way, but i have to say i like the concept of this film. A boarding school out in the countryside, for children that their parents think will change them into better students. Of course, this boarding school is not going to make these students any better, just make them feel worse. In some ways, this boarding school reminded me of Christian Conversion Therapy, since there are some similar elements here. The difference of course is that this is supposed to be a school, where the teacher clearly have no experience with helping students with different disabilities. The acting in this film is very divided. We do have some good performances from some of the actors, while some of them are not giving us a solid performance. Let´s start with the performances that actually feels interesting. Actress Sterling Jenkis as the student Christine is both confident, and want to make sure that she is not supposed to be in boarding school. Lead actor Luke Prael, who plays the student Jacob, is clearly a young man who is just trying to be himself while his parents feel he needs to be changed. Legendary actor Will Patton ( remember him from the 1998 classic Armageddon ? or perhaps from one of Richard Gere´s best films known as The Mothman Prophecies ) deliver one of the strongest performances in this film as Dr. Sherman. This is a man who believe his methods will help young people, but you can tell that he should not be teaching young people. The other child actors also do a great job. While watching Boarding School, i begin to wonder how the parents are thinking. Do they categorize children that this is what normal should be, and not the way their children are ? Is that their idea of why they need to send their children away ? This are some of those questions i guarantee most people will have watching this film. Just because a child is special, and have special needs, does not mean they are not supposed to be treated like any other child. But there is also another twist in this film that i find perhaps more interesting, how disturbed this boarding school is when we find out what is really going on. And here the films becomes really brutal, more than i expected. Director Boaz Yakin have both written many films and directed several films as well. One of the film i do remember is Remember The Titans with Denzel Washington. But i have to say that his new film Boarding School is one of his most interesting films. I get a feeling of Roman Polanski or Brian De Palma in here, mixed together. I would not call Boarding School a future classic, but definitely a movie that could become a cult hit if more people find this film. Finally an odd film in the horror section, Boarding School will be appreciated for the fans of old school cinema.

Rating: DDD

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