26th Jun2020

‘The New Kids’ Limited Edition Blu-ray Review (101 Films)

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Lori Loughlin, Shannon Presby, James Spader, John Philbin, David H. MacDonald, Vince Grant, Theron Montgomery, Eddie Jones, Lucy Martin, Eric Stoltz, Paige Price, Court Miller, Tom Atkins | Written by Stephen Gyllenhaal | Directed by Sean S. Cunningham

Director Sean S. Cunningham is widely known for the classic 1980 slasher Friday the 13th, a movie we know and love that spawned a whole series of sequels and eventually a remake. Still, he’s done plenty of other things, and one of those things is the 1985 thriller, The New Kids. With a screenplay by Stephen Gyllenhaal who also wrote the story alongside Brian Taggert, The New Kids finally comes out on Blu-ray in the UK thanks to 101 Films and their excellent Black Label.

The story itself follows two American teenagers – Loren (Shannon Presby) and Abby (Lori Loughlin) – who, when their parents are killed in a car accident, move to Florida to live with their Uncle. It’s here when their lives take an even more severe turn, as they encounter members of a violent, cruel and psychotic gang, led by the main-villain of the tale, Durta (James Spader in full scum-bag mode). Abby and Loren, younger sister and older brother, attempt to avoid conflict at first, but things spin out of control and they find themselves in an all-out fight for survival against the gang of demented thugs.

It’s a blast, and this release from 101 is top quality, with a bunch of brand-new special features to sink your teeth into consisting of engaging and insightful interviews and a cool commentary track. The film itself is riotously entertaining but pretty dark too. It’s labelled much of the time as a horror film, but it’s more of a violent action thriller, full of gruesome sequences and character development. It has that craziness of an 80s high-school thriller, too, with ridiculously unbelievable concepts being freely explored in the most entertaining of ways. Spader, as gang-leader Dutra, stands out for sure. He brings a vile and repugnant character to the screen and is the sort of villain necessary for us to want to see Abby and Loren fight back against.

A slice of gory and action-packed 80s violence, The New Kids is a very underrated gem that will hopefully attract more attention with this new release to Blu-ray from 101 Films. Intense, gritty, daft and with an explosive and satisfying climax, this is a bloody good movie and a damn fine release to boot.

The 101 Films Black Label release comes with, on top of the movie itself, the following extras:

  • Interview with director Sean S. Cunningham
  • Interview with writer Stephen Gyllenhaal
  • Commentary with film critics Sean Hogan and Jasper Sharp
  • Limited edition booklet: Includes ‘80s Gang Violence Movies and The New Kids by Jon Towlson and Pushing the Envelope: Sean Cunningham by Barry Forshaw

**** 4/5

The New Kids is coming to Blu-ray from 101 Films on 29th June 2020 and is available for pre-order now.

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