REVIEW: ‘Student Body’ Fails to Thrill

Student Body is a forthcoming indie film that tells the story of five high school students trying to live through one hell of a night.

It’s hard to describe what Student Body is by the end of the film. While it tries hard to be terrifying and thrilling, it’s often predictable and frustrating with a very thin plot barely holding together. And yet, it’s not terrible. It’s not necessarily good, but it’s not necessarily bad, either. It’s the type of film that is easy to watch if you need a good popcorn flick on the couch, unfortunately, though it seems likely to not leave a lasting impression.

Student Body is a horror thriller written and directed by Lee Ann Kurr. This marks Kurr’s feature film directorial debut, having previously helmed the TV mini-series, Wonder, as well as a couple of shorts. While the script does have its flaws, Kurr does do a good job at bringing out the best in the young cast. Where the film falls apart, however, is when it tries to make the leap into a horror film in its final moments. Up until that point, it’s the stereotypical high school flick that sees one student trying to fit in with the “cool kids.” It’s a cliché story, and one that would benefit from a unique plot. Student Body, unfortunately, lacks a unique story.

Perhaps the easiest way to describe Student Body is by noting that it’s a story of obsession, one that tries to treat some of its subject matter with a sense of ease, but continually throws it in the viewers faces. It’s the typical high school film full of toxic friends, trying to fit in and trying to balance school and home. This one, however, just has murder thrown in to spice things up.

This is a film that could have greatly benefited from a larger budget — perhaps to actually make it feel like a school with more than five students. It also could have benefited from a tighter and more cohesive story. Again, this isn’t to say the final product is terrible. It’s still an easy watch under two hours, and it does feature Christian Camargo as Mr. Aunspach, with the actor bringing his signature charm to the film. It’s just that, horror/thriller films need to be memorable if the story isn’t going to be tight. The score only managed to stand out in one scene near the end, proving to be otherwise forgetful throughout the rest of the film. The cinematography was lacking, especially in shots of the school. And the acting, at times, was subpar. Thankfully, though, those moments were few and far between. Harley Quinn Smith put everything she had into delivering a stern, yet vulnerable Nadia Parker, while Montse Hernandez shined as Jane Shipley.

While Student Body wasn’t a favorite of mine, and one I probably won’t return to for future viewings, that doesn’t mean I’d encourage others to write it off. Give it a chance. It’s a quick film you can stream over the weekend while sitting at home. You may just enjoy the craziness that awaits.

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