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F (The Expelled)

F (The Expelled)


Genre: Horror, Thriller

Directed by: Johannes Roberts

Starring: David Schofield, Eliza Bennet, Ruth Gemmell, Roxanne McKee

When we were at school we would fall out with a teacher over talking in class or getting a bad grade and all we could think about was murdering them in cold blood. We’ve all been there haven’t we? Controversial? I suppose so, especially for those teachers out there who will now be worrying about falling out with a student. F is about teachers vs. students but on the battlefield instead of a classroom. If you’re a teacher maybe this film isn’t for you.

F opens with a scene we’ve all seen before: a teacher grading a pupil with a ‘F’ and the student fighting back, only in this case the student fights back physically and breaks the teacher’s nose. Within this class is the teacher’s daughter, who rushes to help her father as the culprit runs from the premises. This teacher is Robert Anderson (David Schofield) and his daughter Kate (Eliza Bennett). With the summer term soon approaching, the school board choose not to expel the student and instead kindly ask Mr Anderson to take a leave of absence until the student leaves anyway. An unfair compromise you may say and Mr Anderson certainly agrees. Six months later and he finds himself back at school, only now he’s frightened of every student, separated from his wife and an embarrassment to his daughter. Things couldn’t go much worse for him but in true movie logic they do when he finds himself locked in the school by a gang of murderous kids.

What fails to work for the story is that the premise is rather high concept and if given a large budget it could have made a rather good slasher film. Unfortunately for director Johannes Roberts he has failed to receive the funds that would have raised his script a level or two. The film feels very low budget British and not even a handful of well known actors can ultimately save it. This is a shame as Roberts draws some decent performances from his cast, especially Eliza Bennett, and adds a creepy atmosphere to proceedings.

The major issue is that there’s never any explanation as to why these ‘children’ are on a killing spree. We never see their faces, we never know their motives and they appear to be like spider-men running and jumping along walls. What are they supposed to be? If the film had established them as children who were fighting back against authority, then this might been understandable but the film loses the plot by leaving any reasoning as a mystery.

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It should have focused on the contemporary themes of under-privileged children and their risk of unemployment but Roberts missed a trick, showing a lack of clear direction. The short running time, low-budget production and hollow location signal at a story that would have been better suited to a short film.

Roberts does manage to deliver some tense moments. The antagonists, with their hoods up and awesome free running skills, are creepy and bring an eerie presence to their existence, whilst the film brings a large amount of gore to the forefront with jaws being ripped off and men being burnt alive in wheelie bins. Unfortunately these few decent moments fail to save the story.

F belongs in the bargain bin of DVD rental stores.


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