FilmBizarro.com - Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Dead Kids

Also known as:
Strange Behavior (Alternative title)

Year: 1981

Genre: Horror / Sci-fi / Slasher

Language: English

Runtime: 99 min

Director: Michael Laughlin

Writer: Michael Laughlin & Bill Condon

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082243/


Plot:
After a test, Pete Brady's closest friend, a typical D student, manages to get an A after a few meetings with a female scientist. Pete's invited over to one of her classes and afterwards she wants him to visit her clinic so she can perform the same experiment on him as on his friend, to make him better in school. But this experiment isn't just making you better in school, it also forces you to kill. Students are killed off in the most bizarre ways, seemingly by different people, and Pete is soon in the middle of it all.

Our thoughts:
I'm happy to see that Severin Films is releasing "Patrick", "Thirst" and "Dead Kids". They're also given great DVD/blu-ray releases, but most of all I am happy because they are some of the biggest horror classics from Australia. They certainly deserve this treatment. "Dead Kids" is a movie I've wanted to watch for several years, but have known it mostly under the title "Strange Behavior", and now I was finally given the chance. This slasher movie meets "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"-type movie is a strange little beast that might have survived as long as it has due to the originality in execution rather than the type of film it is.

Students are being killed off around the same time that Pete Brady's best friend suddenly gets an A on a test. Let's just say he's not the kind of person to get A's. Ever. It turns out that his friend had been experimented on by a scientist who uses the school to get guinea pigs for her clinic. He was injected by something that made him smarter and more sharp in school. But the same injection also turns the students into cold-blooded killers, using whatever method available to end their target. Pete remains clueless and comes closer and closer to being another one in the line of injected kids.

It's a rather cheesy movie, but it's entertaining in a way that slashers of the 70s and 80s managed to be, something which stopped with the "Scream" generation. The kills are quite odd, but often done in a really amateurish manner, which keeps you more focused on how they did it (some effects and stunts are just laughable) than being scared. Yet it's just a fun movie that keeps you invested. The characters are great even though they seem to be taken out of "Porky's". The different ways of murder keeps you guessing how the next victim will fall. You don't need much more than that in a slasher movie of this caliber, yet you get the science fiction aspect of the story to spice it up further.

It makes a huge different to watch a slasher movie where anyone can be the killer, rather than having one masked man be the bad guy. It's not that "Dead Kids" has you wondering who to trust, it makes it very clear when someone has been experimented on, yet it gives a fresh flavor to the genre. It's just enough to keep something that is familiar fun, but in the end we've seen similar situations in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", and you could even compare it to zombies in some ways.

"Dead Kids" is indeed a unique movie. It doesn't stray too far from the classics in plot, but they made it with just the right amount of fun, shock attitude and inventiveness to stand out among the rest. The soundtrack also helps making this even more odd. There's a reason people remember "Dead Kids" ("Strange Behavior") still today, and a reason why Severin Films' release of the movie is very important. If you love your 70s and 80s movies with equal parts shock as humor, then "Dead Kids" is well worth the price. Did I mention that Severin Films did a great job with the blu-ray transfer?


Positive things:
- Familiar, yet inventive and fun.
- Entertaining characters.
- The different kills.
- The science fiction plot helps a lot.

Negative things:
- The kills are cheesy. You can clearly see how most of them were made.

Rating:
Gore: 2.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 2.5/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 2/5

We got this movie from:
CAVD.com

It can be bought from:
Amazon.com

Reviewed by:
Ronny




 

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