‘School’s Out’ Review: Sinister Teens In Phychological Thriller

A teacher of an advance class in an expensive school leaps to his death during an exam. The replacement teacher Pierre (Luàna Bajrami) finds himself out of his depth with the advanced class, but soon also realises that there’s something sinister about the clique of six students who appear to be the alphas of the class. As he begins to investigate the mysterious students he discovers they are obsessed with the abuse of the natural world around them and are planning to do something about it.

The atmosphere of the film is creepy. That is creepiness in the sense that it’s unclear what the threat is or if there even is one outside of Pierre’s imagination. The film creates a pervasive feeling of unease around the children as well as menacing hints that something larger is wrong. It feels like witchcraft, and the synth-infused soundtrack has definite classic horror movie vibes. The sinister, softly spoken children recall The Village of the Damned. Only there’s a much more realistic cause behind these kids.

Laurent Lafitte is the pulsating heart of the film. His initial calm and cool demeanor is very assured but soon disintegrates into a frenzied rush for answers. He manages both with tremendous weight. The children are all superb but the standout is most definitelyLuàna Bajrami as Apolline, the young leader of the group. She manages coldly arrogant and deeply threatening with pure bravura.

The film is mostly definitely a psychological thriller, which gradually becomes more abstract. The cynical scoffs of some of my fellow critics might imply that it does this with mixed success, however I found the film managed it’s tone marvelously and I only became more enticed as the film grew stranger.
Director Sébastien Marnier has directed a genuinely frightening thriller, the scariest proposition of which is that the children who have been failed by generations past may not all go quietly into the environmental disaster we have built for them to call a future.
Four Stars
School’s Out will be premiering at The BFI London Film Festival on 18TH October, 20:45 at Prince Charles Cinema

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