Young Jacob (Luke Prael) is a bed wettin’ teen dude in a night terrors mood…a condition that is driving his already off-kilter mother (Samantha Mathis) even more insane, adding to the “fun” of our hero’s life are a cadre of abusive peers and the fact that he is slowly taking on the persona of his recently deceased grand mother…right down to dressing like her. This doesn’t really go over to well, so off he goes to a rural boarding school far from his New York City home. Once there he gets a room mate, a pint sized Richard Lynch clone named Phil (Nadia Alexander…yeah, you read right, this part is played by a female, and her “trying to sound like a boy” voice is a super big distraction even though her acting is pretty damn solid)…but our burnt buddy isn’t the only surprise waiting for Jacob, as every student in the school has a behavioral problem or disability, and the man in charge of teaching this motley crew, Dr. Sherman (Will Patton who gives an absolutely fantastic performance) is an abusive bastard of immense magnitude.
The days pass and Jacob befriends Christine (Sterling Jerins), a girl he knew previously, who now finds herself in the same dire situation as the rest, though she appears to be perfectly normal…though appearances can be deceiving. Soon students wind up dead, Jacob has recurring dreams of Nazi Germany, and the school begins revealing it’s true purpose…
Boarding School is simply put one hell of a fright flick! It’s loaded with very strange children (and those are the basically non-disabled ones), gobs of Gothic atmosphere (the school is a suitable replacement for the standard mansion…though this has plenty of that if you know what I’m saying…you don’t…no one does…), and tension so thick you could cut it with a knife…and which escalates at a very well handled slow burn pace that never once becomes anything less than completely enthralling.
Special mention absolutely must be given to the young actors that star in this picture; aforementioned “boy voice” aside, these kids act up a storm (as do the adults in the ensemble) and completely sell the characters they are tasked with portraying…characters that are either shockingly nuanced and mature, or completely damaged or handicapped…or a combination of all of the above in a script by writer/director Boaz Yakin that is unafraid to tread in dark, dark water in a manner that is unique, unpredictable, and steadfast in it’s refusal to spoon-feed the audience while delivering some absolutely gorgeous visuals.
To sum it up; Boaz Yankin has delivered with Boarding School in spades; it’s bizarre, unsettling, and filled with a sense of menace that permeates the entire film…easily in my Top 10 fright flicks of 2018!