Review: ‘Student Body’ is inconsistent genre fare saved by its performances.


A distressing incident compels childhood best friends Jane and Merritt to take action against their high school math teacher, driving their splintered relationship into further turmoil and provoking deadly consequences.

When a close-knit circle of private school friends attempts to request a makeup calculus test, things do not go as planned. Student Body flips the script, quite literally, on whatever genre you thought you were watching. In a film of consequences and crazies, surviving high school just became a lot harder.

Each member of the group has their role to play; manipulative leader, aggressive jock, comic relief, activist, and smart girl. Together, their chemistry makes Student Body worth your time.
Stand-out performances come from two players. Austin Zajur as French is the loveable goofball of the bunch. His charming energy gives us the most memorable moments of levity. Harley Quinn Smith is a star. She’s such a natural, your eye goes to her immediately as her confident voice echoes above the fray of group scenes.

Writer-director Lee Ann Kurr gives us two distinct genres by structuring the script as one half character development and the other half horror. The issue with the second half is pacing. The urgency is missing. There are 15 minutes between murders, a brief slump then the third. Then, it stops being cohesive at all. There’s an overall emphasis on safety. We know new locks and safety glass were installed as they make a point to highlight it over and over. Unfortunately, unless I missed it, there’s no president for the measure. As the generation who experienced Columbine, some of these details seem nonsensical. Bulletproof windows and roll-down gates, but no classroom locks from the inside?

While I suspect the filming was done in an empty high school, halls, and classrooms lacking almost all signs of life, in the end, this probably lent to efficiency. Overall, there’s a lot of solid material in Student Body. The editing is fantastic and the soundtrack (at least in the beginning) lends itself to teen movie cult status. I wish that had continued. The dialogue is never pretentious or tries too hard. That and the cinematography make it enjoyable.

Now On Digital!

Directed by Lee Ann Kurr
Written by Lee Ann Kurr

Christian Camargo, Montse Hernandez, Cheyenne Haynes, Harley Quinn Smith, Austin Zajur, Anthony Keyvan

Run Time: 1:28:48
Rating: N/A

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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