There was a time in the horror film genre when kids were usually the primary victims, relentlessly pursued by some lone, masked killer. Those movies that tried to put a fresh spin on the formula still relied on the meat-and-potatoes of the slasher film — the slaughtered teenager. Of course there have been the odd film featuring youngters as villains, it seems that the overall tide is turning and that more and more horror films have warmed to the notion of blood-thirsty adolescents spilling some blood.
The latest film to turn the tables on the adults is F by Johannes Roberts, a movie whose subject matter seems ripped from the pages of a lurid tabloid newspaper. While 2008′s EDEN LAKE featured a couple being tormented by a group of vicious teens in the country, F uses a similar premise but in an inner-city school setting.
Robert Anderson (an excellent David Scofield) is a teacher forced into a short leave of absence after being assaulted by a student. While on leave, he scours the papers for news of other such assaults nationwide (and hits the bottle pretty hard). Estranged from his wife and daughter (who is a pupil at the school at which he teaches), he eventually returns to work. Scared, bitter, and still drinking, he takes out his frustrations on his daughter, putting her in detention after school. It’s here where things turn sinister, as the school comes under siege from a gang of hoodie-wearing psychopaths.
Although slightly reminiscent of movies like THEM (Ils) and even ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, F manages to be a quite effective little thriller. The ordinary father-daughter quarrels are offset perfectly by all-too-real horrors that could be the end of them both. The cast is fleshed out well with other students, janitors, security guards, and even the school principal being offered up as potential victims.
F is impressively taut and keeps your attention, with plenty of gruesome (in some cases, heartbreaking) scenes during its 76-minute running time. That being said, F is not without its flaws. The attackers all use lame parkour as a calling card; leaping and climbing all over the place. Also, a lot of the violence occurs off screen, with the movie cutting from the initial assault to scenes of the aftermath of the attack.
All in all, F is an excellent addition to the so-called “hoodie horror” subgenre. It also comes complete with a powerful climax that I felt rivals its similarly themed counterparts, EDEN LAKE and CHERRY TREE LANE.