Saturday, July 2, 2011

The New Kids (1985)

What do you get when you put Aunt Becky from Full House, bad 80s music, too many montages and a pack of small town high school drug dealing gang members together? THE NEW KIDS.

When Loren (Shannon Presby) and his sister Abby (Lori Loughlin) lose both of their parents in an accident they move to a small town in Florida to live with their aunt and uncle who have just purchased a run down amusement park to fix up. All seems well as the siblings help their aunt and uncle and attend their new high school until the local trouble makers, lead by Gordo, place a bet on who can go to bed with Abby first. After several unpleasant encounters which don't lead any of the hooligans to the sack and hurt their ego and light their temper the gang decides to vandalize the newly renovated amusement park and their prized Cadillac. After a few nastier and more personal encounters Loren decides to end it and beats up one of the gang in the school parking lot to cheers of his friends and classmates. It is this moment that causes Gordo to go over the edge and want blood. Abby is kidnapped during a school dance and tortured by the gang until the final bloody showdown inside of the amusement park's walls.

Director Sean S. Cunningham, best known for popularizing the slasher film with 1980's Friday The 13th, gives us a somewhat nasty thriller that is really a story of two halves. The first half is a decent set up but we are required to really believe that these redneck teenagers are some major threat to the town and are dangerous without seeing to much to make us believe that at all. Five or six hick kids with shotguns in the back of a pickup truck just shooting into the air isn't all that frightening. Eventually we get to see their nastier side before the finale which was an important save. The soundtrack is as 80s as it gets, and not in a good way. Every time there is a montage, and there are plenty, we get a song that really really wishes it was in any better 80s movie. When we aren't being treated to such soothing songs of empowerment and triumph we get to listen to an ill-fitting score. The thing that keeps THE NEW KIDS from being more of a stand out 80s movie is the weak first half and that it feels like a movie wanting to be an 80s movie.

For all of its flaws and the fact that it is certainly dated THE NEW KIDS succeeds moderately as a revenge thriller.


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