Detention appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not bad, the image tended to be erratic.
Sharpness was one of the up and down elements. Much of the flick demonstrated positive delineation, but more than a few somewhat soft shots appeared; these mostly occurred during interiors, which tended to seem a little fuzzy. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I noticed no signs of edge haloes or print flaws, either.
Given its ambition, Detention came with a mix of palette choices. They could be stylized ala modern horror movies or they could be day-glo 1992 peppy. The film replicated all the color options well. Blacks were somewhat inky, though, and shadows could seem moderately dense; low-light shots tended to be a bit mushy. The movie remained attractive enough for a “B-“, but that was as high a grade as I could give to it.
I felt more consistently pleased with the occasionally hyperactive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Detention. A genre-spanning piece of lunacy, the mix had enough action/sci-fi scenes to use the five channels well. Enough of the movie concentrated on the more low-key teen relationship side of things to mean that the track didn’t boast consistent theatrics, but we find plenty of sequences that placed active elements all around the room. These melded together smoothly and offered a good sense of the action.
Audio quality satisfied. Music was dynamic and bold, while effects showed good range and clarity. Speech came across as concise and crisp. All of this resulted in a solid soundtrack.
A few extras round out the package. The biggest attraction comes from a picture-in-picture piece called Cheat Mode: The Unbelievably Mind Melting Making of Detention. This combines outtakes, auditions, photos from the shoot, behind the scenes text and interviews. In the latter, we hear from co-writer/co-producer Mark Palermo, director/co-writer Joseph Kahn, composers Brain and Melissa, stunt coordinator/fight choreographer Don Theerathada, and actors Alison Woods, Shanley Caswell, Aaron David Johnson, Josh Breeding, Josh Hutcherson, Spencer Locke, Tiffany Boone, Dane Cook, Marque Richardson II, James Black, Jonathan Park, Yves Bright, Walter Perez, and Erica Shaffer. The comments cover aspects of the story and characters, cast/performances, themes and influences, sets, locations and production design, stunts and various effects, music, pacing and style, and some other filmmaking notes.
Nearly as hyperactive as the film itself, “Cheat Mode” delivers a pretty terrific picture-in-picture commentary. It gets into virtually all relevant aspects of the production and does so in rapid-fire fashion. This occasionally threatens to become too much, but it never does, so it ends up as a strong examination of the movie.
Next we get Fight Rehearsal footage. This reel runs two minutes, 18 seconds and shows stunt performers as they work through the movie’s climactic battle. It offers a fairly interesting glimpse of this side of things.
Under Riffing with Dane, we get four minutes, 19 seconds of outtakes. In these, we essentially see a gag reel that focuses on Cook. It ends up as a mix of goofs/giggles and some alternate takes.
Finally we locate eight minutes, three seconds of Screen Tests. These involve “Shanley Caswell and Yves Bright” (1:26), “Shanley Caswell” (5:00) and “Shanley Caswell and Aaron David Johnson” (1:37). Footage like this is always fun to see, so this becomes a good collection.
The disc opens with ads for Meeting Evil and Starship Troopers: Invasion. These also appear under Previews. No trailer for Detention pops up here.
One of the weirdest movies I’ve seen in a while, Detention goes far beyond its “Scream update” veneer to present something unique. It takes a while to create an impact, but it eventually becomes a surprisingly entertaining experience. The Blu-ray comes with erratic but usually fine visuals, good audio and a few useful bonus materials. I can’t guarantee you’ll like Detention, but I’m pretty sure you won’t see anything else like it.