Monday 10 January 2011

F DVD review

Out now on DVD is this latest entry into the 'Hoodie Horror' sub-genre.
Check out the trailer and read my review, next...

Tired of giving in to the nanny state school system, Mr Anderson (David Schofield) issues one of his students with an F grade, resulting in the student giving him a bloody nose in return. 11 months on, Anderson is trying to get his life back to normality, but the aftermath of the attack has left him hitting the bottle and unable to discipline his students. Then one night after the school has closed, Mr Anderson finds that he and the other remaining staff are under attack from a gang of Hoodies.

We don't know why these Hoodies have chosen to descend on the school, or whether this is a planned or random attack. They're silent faceless creatures who slink around in the shadows, climbing over the furniture like mad Parkour bastards. It's almost like a Raptor attack from Jurassic Park, in that by the time you realise that you're in trouble, they've already got you surrounded.

F shares some common territory with other recent Hoodie horrors like Cherry Tree Lane and Eden Lake, and also makes great use of a slow burn atmosphere like the French thriller Ils (Them). As you'd expect, Parkour and Stanley Knives are a dangerous combination, and listening to the clicking as the blade extends is quite a tension builder.

David Schofield certainly has a face of experience, his deep lines and crevices seemingly filled with hangdog misery. Mr Anderson may start the film as quite an impotent character, but the survival of him and his daughter Kate is something that you root for. In a way this new attack is what he needed to shake himself out of his funk, and allows him to be the father his daughter wants him to be. He's far from an Indiana Jones action hero, but he'll do whatever is needed to keep his daughter out of harms way.

It turns out that an empty school is quite an effectively eerie location to set a film in, and F makes great use of its creative and varied setting. As for the death scenes, it doesn't always get the balance between threat and execution right (one of the deaths is particularly over the top), but it succeeds as a exercise in sustained tension.

A tight, suspenseful British horror that must have teachers and Daily Mail readers quaking in their cul-de-sac's.


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