24th Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘Extracurricular’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Luke Goss, Keenan Tracey, Brittany Raymond, Spencer Macpherson, Brittany Teo, Stephen Bogaert, Emmanuel Kabongo, Joshua Joel Bailey, Richard Clarkin | Written by Matthew Abrams, Padgett Arango | Directed by Ray Xue


Four high school seniors feel their day-to-day lives at school are getting a little dull. So they made a pact to plan and execute a series of perfect, elaborate murders and get some thrills behind them before heading off to college. However when their latest homicidal plan hits some unexpected speed bumps, the situation turns deadly, violent and bloody.

In the same vein as Tragedy Girls, Extracurricular essentially tells that same story as The Strangers (and a multitude of other home invasion/slasher movies) but from the perspective of the masked killers rather than their victims. That these killers happen to be a small group of high-school kids only adds to the depth of this particular tale… and one that actually says a lot about behaviour and psychology in these times of instant gratification – after all, thanks to the internet, mobile technology and social media we can get, see, or do just about anything in an instant. But what if that’s not enough, what if the twisted minds of the youth are seeking more… more enlightenment, a sense of purpose, a sense of being.

It just so happens that the kids of Extracurricular find all three in the sadistic pleasures of murder!

Much like Heathers, which saw the angst of youth explode into violence, so do the youths in this film. Although here we’re not privy to any particular teenage angst, just a bunch of sociopaths who clearly feel superior to those around them and exercise that superiority through the planning and execution (literally in most case) of murder. Unlike the aforementioned Heathers, there’s no laughs to be had in Extracurricular. This is a dark film. And one that is sans any morality – these kids are evil and there’s no real repercussions for their actions. Well, I say no real repercussions, there’s no MORAL repercussions; no one brings these kids to justice, no one gets to give their victims closure.

Instead we get a bunch of irresponsible, truly psychotic kids finding their fate at the own hand. This band of merry killers get, for the most part, their comeuppance but its not the kind of satifactory, morally right comeuppance. It’s entirely accidental. It’s surprisingly precient to be fair. People in power – as these kids clearly are – rarely get what they truly deserve and when there are consequences for their actions, its oftentimes purely accidental. As is the case here.

It would seem Ray Xue’s tale, underneath the psychopathic surface, an allegorical tale of modern-day society. The kids here are the rich, their victims the poor. It’s facism wrote big on the screen… these kids are the very epitomy of dictatorial oppressors using murder to control the society around them. And there’s always one rich guy, or girl, that gets away with it. Always. As is the case here.

*** 3/5

Extracurricular screened on Saturday August 24th as part of Arrow Video Frightfest 2019.


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