Hi again ghosts and ghouls! Taylor Terrible here, back with another review of a film I didn’t expect a lot from an ended up being pleasantly surprised. I know, my reviews have been few and far between, and let me tell you, planning an October wedding is both a blessing and a curse. Knowing that the first week of October will be filled with wedding stress and not a straight week of horror films is, well, disappointing.
However, luckily for us horror fans, we can still watch our favorite films year-round, and don’t have to limit it to just one month! It is exciting, though, that fall is on its way. So with that, I’ve been in the mood for a good horror film that brings something different to the table than the usual big Hollywood garbage we’ve been so used to seeing lately.
That’s where BOARDING SCHOOL comes in. This one came across my computer screen and immediately caught my attention – the bizarre storyline, outlined so matter-of-factly, told me that this film would be a strange, wild ride. “A young boy becomes fascinated with the persona of his dead grandmother and is sent to an isolated boarding school for misfits run by a mysterious headmaster and his wife.”
Um, what? Yeah, that was the exact reaction that I had when I read that before watching. If you’ve been following my reviews for a while now, you know that typically I do like to go into films blind. When it comes to films with an almost entirely child-based cast, I tend to get a little wary, though, so I did look up the storyline ahead of time. No amount of research could have really prepared me for the insane twists and turns of BOARDING SCHOOL, though.
Jacob (Luke Prael), attends the funeral of his grandmother, with whom he has no relationship due to his mother keeping him away from her, citing that she was an awful person. After attending, he becomes enthralled with the idea of her life, having never met her. When Jacob’s stepfather catches Jacob wearing his deceased grandmother’s clothes, he is sent to a boarding school for children whose parents essentially consider them burdens to society.
We meet a handful of children who are sent to the school to be made “better” in a matter of two weeks, which is strange and becomes increasingly apparent to a fellow classmate of Jacob’s, named Christine. (You may remember Sterlin Jerins, who plays Christine, from The Conjuring where she plays Judy Warren). We also meet their strange, obsessively religious headmaster who constantly cites the bible and makes the children read it instead of their own textbooks.
Dr. Sherman (Will Patton) and his “wife” Mrs. Sherman (Tammy Blanchard) tend to the children, however they refer to the childrens’ parents as “your people”, as well as using outdated methods of punishing them. This stark contrast of adulthood vs the innocence of the children is disturbing in itself, but about halfway through the film there are quite a few twists and turns that are not only surprising, but sad, upsetting, strange…
The cast of kids is surprisingly wonderful. Like I said earlier, I typically have a hard time with child-based casts but these children are great, convincing, and definitely outshine the adults. The story is a bit hard to follow at times, but all in all it’s a great ode to always being true to yourself. An uplifting horror film? Yeah, a little bit!
Another mechanism in this film that added to the overall feel that I absolutely loved: the setting was a gorgeous, old mansion complete with Victorian decorations, as well as a slightly greenish blue tine at all times, which always makes a horror film feel more creepy to me. It was very tastefully done and not at all over the top.
I would love to give this film another watch – the storyline is much different than anything I’ve ever seen before, and I would watch to see if there is anything from the first watch-through that I didn’t notice, or that I perceive differently upon another watch.
If you’re in the market for a fun, strange, thought-provoking horror film that’s still all-around gory and gross, definitely give this film a watch. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
BOARDING SCHOOL will be released in theaters and On Demand/Digital HD on August 31, 2018.
- [Slamdance Review] MAJNUNI - January 26, 2020
- Panic Fest Short Film Review: BROWN FISH (2017) - February 4, 2019
- Short Film Review: GOOD GIRL (2018) - December 26, 2018