Review: EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Is A Darkly Hilarious Thriller

FIRST IMPRESSION

With a surprisingly wicked sense of dark humor, Extracurricular Activities is one of the more enjoyable B-movies you will see all year.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Extracurricular Activities is a new comedy-thriller film written by Bob Sáenz and directed by Jay Lowi. The movie follows an intelligent high school student who runs a business arranging the murders of his classmates’ parents and passing them off as accidents until he raises the suspicion of one of the other parents, a detective.

This film’s story is definitely very intriguing, and it plays out into a movie that feels both extremely entertaining and very fresh. As a whole, the film feels very reminiscent of Heathers, but in a way that is much less dated and far less controversial. Heathers is pretty wacky, but this movie takes the wackiness to the extreme (in a good way), the end result being intensely watchable.

If you have a dark sense of humor, this film is sure to have you laughing throughout. From the beginning of the movie, you can tell that it is going to be over-the-top and even demented, as it is one of the most memorable sequences in the film. The death scenes aren’t particularly gory, but they are creative, giving the movie an old-school and much more enjoyable feel than other recent movies that are reliant on kills.

Partially resulting from its wicked sense of humor and partially caused by the story with plenty of suspense, the film moves along at an extremely quick pace. After about five minutes, you will be completely drawn into the movie and its world and won’t be let go. The runtime is less than an hour and thirty minutes, and you will be left wanting to spend more time with the characters, although the ending is satisfying on its own.

Timothy Simons. Photo Credit 1091 Media.

In terms of character development, the film was very effective at accomplishing what it set out to do. The protagonist is somewhat antihero-like in that his actions aren’t always likable, he is similar to Robin Hood in that he is trying to do good. This isn’t to say that the movie justifies or encourages murder — it’s just used as a metaphor for drastic actions as a whole.

The film’s cast contains some surprisingly good actors and actresses, especially for a genre B-movie like this. Timothy Simons (Veep) plays the main adult character, and he is great, bringing his usual charm and hilarity to the character. Colin Ford plays the protagonist in a way that is charming and intriguing. Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$) and Angela Kinsey (The Office) are hilarious in their supporting roles too.

On a technical level, the movie was also pretty impressive. You would think that a film with this level of ambition on such a low budget would fall flat, but for the most part, it works. There were one or two awkward CGI shots, but a majority of the death sequences are written in a way that allows them to be done with practical effects, and are impressive as such.

Overall, Extracurricular Activities was a surprisingly enjoyable movie. Because of a witty and funny script, great pacing, and an impressive cast, the film is one that is definitely worth your time.

Extracurricular Activities hits VOD on June 4.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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