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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Detention / 返校 - 2020 Fantasia Movie Review



The Movie: Detention / 返校

The Director: John Hsu

The Cast: Gingle Wang, Tseng Chin-Hua, Fu Meng-Po, Cecilia Choi

The Story: A high school student in 1960's Taiwan during the period of White Terror and martial law must deal with the consequences of her actions against a secret book club.


The Review:
This movie is based off of a video game of the same name which makes sense because the dark and creepy nature of the movie is very video game like and I mean to say that in a good way. The movie is very dark and atmospheric with alternating moments of drama, terror, and action all mixed together to create quite a compelling story. John Hsu expertly leads the characters down a horrifying rabbit hole of oppression and government control.

To be honest, I was a bit confused at times most likely because I didn't have a full understanding of the Taiwanese history this movie explores and some of the more subtle cultural nuances as well. Still, the story is very engaging and at times super creepy with lots of great imagery so I was still fully entertained. There is a ton of symbolism in just about every scene and you can tell that great care was taken to give a fully immersive experience which I am assuming owes a lot to the video game as well.

Detention is a truly scary movie partly because of the otherworldly horrors and partly because of the atrocities of the time period that it's set in. Governments overstepping our freedoms as human beings has always plagued our history and this is a glaring example of where we might be headed even during modern times.


Detention is an official selection of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival.

To see more reviews, interviews, and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at Fantasia 2020


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