Eagle-eyed readers may well recognise the name Oliver Milburn, the writer and director of School’s Out Forever. For those, less eagle-eyed amongst you, Milburn was the writer and director of the short Dunroamin.
At the time, we weren’t giving our reviews a star rating but, had we been, Dunroamin would have received a solid five. It was delightfully well conceived and put together with a fantastic twist at the end.
Here, with School’s Out Forever, Milburn is adapting the novel of the same name by Scott K. Andrews. This is a, very close to the current situation…ish…post-apocalyptic tale of students and adults going hell for leather.
We begin with headmaster Anthony Head (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer (TV)”, “The Stranger (TV)”) expelling student Lee Keegan, Oscar Kennedy (“Hunted (TV)”, “Home From Home (TV)”), after his final prank with fellow student Sean, Liam Lau Fernandez, who is the head-boy, is the final straw.
Lee’s father, Steve Oram (“Sightseers”, “The World’s End”), picks him up and it is at this point that we begin to realise not everything is ok with the world. A flu-like pandemic is sweeping the world, people are dying and, unless you are blood-type O-negative, you’re toast basically.
Fast forward and Lee’s mum finally manages to get in touch with him and tells him to head back to the school, wait for her, she’s coming for him. Reluctantly he agrees and heads back to the school to find the only teacher left is Mr. Bates, Alex Macqueen (“Slaughterhouse Rulez”, “Peaky Blinders (TV)”).
Along with a bunch of young students, Sean and the new matron, Jasmine Blackborow (“The Art Of Love”, “The Protector”), they are trying to do their best to survive, though Bates isn’t the best teacher for this situation.
Things go seriously South when Claire, Freya Parks (“Bliss!”, “Les Miserables”), enters the school with a shotgun and is subsequently paralysed by Sean jumping on her in the subsequent fight. When mother, Samantha Bond (“Tomorrow Never Dies”, “Die Another Day”), comes looking for her with a small army, the school finds itself in a battle they should never be near.
This is a gory film, but it’s done in a black humoured way as the boys find anything they can to fight, from sports equipment to chemicals from the science lab. There’s plenty of blood and guts and some inventive deaths.
Milburn, keeping in mind that the books are aimed at young adults, turns away from the biggest deaths but he ensures we sees the ones he can show in all their glory. He directs well and the kids, and adults, all perform well with Bond giving a menacing performance.
School’s Out Forever is a fun all round movie, the ending is a bit of a let-down, particularly compared to the high-tempo of the rest of the movie, but it’s obviously left-open for the rest of the omnibus of books, should this one perform well you’d imagine.
School’s Out Forever is released in the UK on digital download on the 15th February and DVD and Blu-ray on 12th April 2021.