Adapted from a young adult series written by Scott K. Andrews, Oliver Milburn’s dark satire School’s Out Forever tells the story of a group of teenagers and teachers hunkering down at a lavish boarding school in the midst of a pandemic. The parallels between real-life and Milburn’s vicious romp are purely coincidental. Obvious similarities aside, the movie features teenage-centric chaos characterized by inflated violence and dry wit, making for an amusingly barbaric and tonally messy concoction.
Lee Keegan (Oscar Kennedy) is a scholarship student at St. Mark’s, a fancy all-male school in the English countryside. When Lee gets busted by the headmaster (Anthony Head) for a harmless prank, he is suspended. But the discovery of weed stashed in his bag turns his suspension into an expulsion. Coincidentally, Lee was expelled on the same day the government began discussing ways to prevent the spread of a fatal flu-like virus by closing the borders.
“…rare blood type that makes them immune to the virus.”
With his father dead and mother stranded abroad, Lee is instructed to return to St. Mark’s for safe haven. There he finds himself among a pack of survivors led by the school matron (Jasmine Blackborow) and Mr. Bates (Alex Macqueen). Fortunately for Lee, his best friend Mac (Liam Lau Fernandez) is among the survivors. How are they able to survive the spreading plague? They have a rare blood type that makes them immune to the virus. Unfortunately, the school’s security measures are no match for the local parish council, who threaten the school with weapons in hand to retrieve a person they’ve taken hostage, leading to full-blown carnage.
At the beginning of School’s Out Forever, the depiction of Lee as a spirited, recalcitrant teenage boy who came to the opulent school on a scholarship paints him as an underdog of sorts, who will potentially be the one to lead shortly with the world in shambles. However, the burden of leadership comes at a cost. As Oliver Milburn’s strange comedy-horror hybrid progresses, it is Mac who proudly assumes a leadership role, and Lee reluctantly agrees to follow — but everyone has their limits. Leave it to a pandemic to reveal the best and worst of humanity.
"…mocks the moralizing done by academic institutions..."