School Spirit the latest film in the partnership between Blumhouse and Hulu is pretty good. The trappings of it are familiar, and the kills never really excite or get inventive. Basically, if you are a fan of horror, you have seen this one done before, maybe even better, somewhere else. However, what this film does do well is applying a deconstructive lens to some issues that are prevalent in our society right now. That’s not to say the film is a genius piece of cinema, but as far as horror films go, this one is worth a watch. The set up is a group of kids are at the school for Saturday detention. Soon, it becomes clear that they are not alone as they are getting picked off one by one by the school’s resident ghost. The ghost effects and overall costume design for the specter are pretty good. Even though the film takes place during the day, the ghost is usually obscured in shadows which helps elevate the great makeup job that they did.
The group of characters are pretty standard for this kind of fair. They all seem taken out of any teen slasher flick. However, one thing this film does do to its credit, with varying success is to give them all a tragic reason for them to be in detention. The one that stuck out to me the most was Lizzy, who we find out gets detention to avoid being home with her alcoholic mother. She comments frequently on not being able to avoid drunks, and how she wishes for her peers to not drink around her. Another stand out was Erica, the girl who is a straight-A student and its a mystery why she is even in detention, to begin with. The full cast plays pretty well with the only occasionally amateur hiccup.
Overall, the film does throw some good surprises in its third act that I didn’t see coming. However, mileage will vary with this film depending on what you’re looking for. It has the feel of a made for TV movie Halloween special. The film is not remarkable, but it’s a far cry from bad. With a run time a little under an hour and a half it’s a quick and easy watch. I liked this film enough to want to check out the other films that Hulu and Blumhouse have worked on together.