School's Out Forever
By Kat Halstead,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Horror comedy has strong violence, language, drug misuse.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie shows how survival instinct can cause selfishness, violence, and tyrannical behavior. But there is a message toward the end that empathy and teamwork can have a more positive effect.
Positive Role Models
Characters' actions are mostly ruled by fear, which leads them to steal, lie, and commit violent acts. Sean becomes power hungry and appears to lose his sense of empathy, controlling those around him through bullying. Georgina and other leaders of the various gangs show tyrannical behavior. Lee and the school matron maintain a sense of right and wrong and act to help others and maintain the peace.
Violence & Scariness
Strong violence includes characters being shot dead, stabbed and skewered, hit with various objects, punched and kicked, set on fire, drowned, and tied up. Dead bodies are shown on multiple occasions -- at varying stages of decomposition -- and wounds are seen in close-up with gushing blood. Kids both act violently and are the recipients of violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passing mention of porn. Character leans in to kiss another, though never makes contact.
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Frequent language includes "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "bloody" and the middle finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Names of supermarkets are referenced. Tins and packets of food with various brands are seen briefly during looting.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters, including teens, drink alcohol on a few occasions, with some characters visibly intoxicated. Marijuana is seen in a bag and later smoked in a group.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that School's Out Forever is a violent British comedy horror about a pandemic that kills off much of the population and leaves the country at a standstill. Characters form gangs and steal food and medical supplies. Guns are used frequently and characters are shot dead and injured -- including kids -- in a number of bloody and gory ways. Students are seen drinking alcohol and pot is smoked. There is frequent strong language, including "f--k" and "s--t." Despite the circumstances, there are comedy moments and some characters exhibit empathy and ethics amid the chaos. But the overall atmosphere is fairly bleak and incredibly violent.
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School's Out Forever
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What's the Story?
In SCHOOL'S OUT FOREVER, boarding school student Lee (Oscar Kennedy) is expelled following a practical joke, but soon finds himself back on campus when a pandemic hits and he has nowhere else to go. With homes deserted, shops empty, and a virus running ravage across the country, teachers and students are forced to team up in order to survive. Things quickly descend into chaos when outsiders breach the parameters and a violent battle for survival ensues.
Is It Any Good?
Almost a decade on from his feature debut, director Oliver Milburn is back with an enjoyably dark horror comedy that splices together elements of Shaun of the Dead and Lord of the Flies. Kennedy is likable in School's Out Forever's lead role, moving from cocky rebel to empathetic hero, while many of the young boys around him fall blindly in line with the tyrannical rule of Liam Lau Fernandez's Sean MacKillick. Anthony Head and Samantha Bond also make a welcome appearance as the stoic headmaster and leader of the local militia respectively, adding a touch of star power into the mix.
The film takes pleasure in moments of intense violence, though none of the kills are particularly inventive -- Milburn driving his message home with close-ups of wounds and squelching sounds galore. There are some unexpected moments that show a willingness to push boundaries and the humor is surprisingly restrained, with smart one-liners and some great reaction shots from Kennedy. Overall it's an enjoyable, if bleak, rampage of horror tropes that works well despite the final battle feeling a little lengthy and repetitive. It doesn't rewrite the rule book, but Milburn has studied it closely, and a glimmer of franchise potential could mean the bell rings for a new term yet.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in School's Out Forever. Did the blood and gore seem over the top? Did the violent scenes help tell the story in an effective way? Was it shocking or thrilling? Why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
How was drinking and drug use portrayed? Were there consequences? Why is that important?
In what way did the group dynamics change in the movie as the situation became more intense? What role did teamwork play? Why is that such an important character strength? Can you think of other films where characters are forced to work together in an emergency and how does their behavior compare?
Did you find the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies?
- In theaters: June 18, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: June 18, 2021
- Cast: Oscar Kennedy, Anthony Head, Samantha Bond
- Director: Oliver Milburn
- Studio: Central City Media
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Friendship, High School, Middle School
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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