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A mystical drama based on a story by V. Korotkevich. The film is set in out-of-the-way Belarusian woodlands at the end of the 19th century. A young ethnographer, Andrej Bielarecki, comes here to research local folk legends.
After an unknown assailant spikes the punch of a pharmaceutical family Christmas with a military grade version of sodium pentothal during Secret Santa, members of the family must survive the night from the victims of the untested drug.
Abby McWilliams and her brother Loren are particularly normal teenagers. Their parents Mac and Mary Beth are killed in an accident. It's decided that Abby and Loren live in Glenby, Florida with their Aunt Fay and Uncle Charlie who own a gas station and an amusement park. Loren and Abby don't have much trouble making friends at their new high school. Loren starts dating Karen, the local sheriff's daughter while Abby starts dating Mark. Loren feels uncomfortable when he sees a blond-haired guy harassing Abby in the lunchroom. Mark tells Loren and Abby that the blond-haired guy is Eddie Dutra, a teenage drug addict who is the leader of a gang of redneck thugs. Loren helps Abby keep Dutra at a distance. Dutra's retaliations keep getting more vicious until Dutra forces a showdown at the amusement park by kidnapping Abby.Written by
Corey Semple (AdamSandler's8SexyNights)
The 1988 UK Columbia video (released as "Striking Back") was cut by 54 secs by the BBFC to edit drug scenes, a shot of a girl's underwear being removed and a scene of girl being covered in lighter fluid. See more »
"The New Kids" is about average for this kind of film: competently if not stylishly made, routinely written, reasonably rousing for its big finish, and full of characters whom you can either like or loathe. And the sides are pretty well delineated: there are the good guys and there are the bad guys. And the bad guys do their able best to show you how much they deserve to die. Director Sean S. Cunningham, who despite efforts like this will always be best known as the original "Friday the 13th" guy, does a decent job, working from a script by future director Stephen Gyllenhaal (who also happens to be the father of Jake and Maggie G.). This is mostly a showcase for the younger crowd, with most of the adult cast relegated to minor roles. Certainly there is some capable production design present here, as well as a good music score by the always reliable Lalo Schifrin.
Lori Loughlin ('Full House') and Shannon Presby (making his only feature film appearance here) play Abby and Loren MacWilliams, two nice, ordinary teens who end up living with their uncle Charlie (Eddie Jones, 'Lois & Clark') and Aunt Fay (Lucy Martin, "Cops and Robbers") in Florida. They become the targets of degenerate prick Eddie Dutra (James Spader, 'The Blacklist') and his gang of repulsive redneck flunkies. Things escalate until a bloody showdown at the amusement park that uncle Charlie operates.
Cunningham does work with a pretty good cast here, also including Eric Stoltz as nice guy Mark, John Philbin ("The Return of the Living Dead"), the great (and too briefly seen) Tom Atkins ("Night of the Creeps") as Abby and Lorens' dad, Brad Sullivan ("The Untouchables") as Colonel Jenkins, and John D. LeMay, future star of the 'Friday the 13th' TV series, in a bit part. Loughlin and Presby do make their characters likable enough that you root for them, and Spader, Philbin and others are just so disagreeable that one just can't wait for them to get their comeuppance. Jones is engaging as a man who's a bit of a dreamer. There is a degree of 1980s style cheese to these proceedings (we get to hear the ditty "Stand Up" three times before this is over), but it's all pretty absorbing up to and including that climax. The final death is fitting and effective.
If you're an animal lover, though, you may be taken aback by the actions of Dutra & gang.
Seven out of 10.
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