People who don’t like modern horror movies frequently point to the jump scares. I’ve defended them in other reviews (here, here, and here), because they’re not the problem. Jumpscares are like cheese. They can add quite a bit of flavor to a film. The problem, which people are rightly perceiving, comes when the cheese is put onto a hockey puck instead of a burger. In bad modern horror movies, jump scares are thrown in to spice up a boring screenplay. Instead of tightening the dialogue or shooting in interesting ways or cutting dead weight scenes, lazy filmmakers throw in nonsensical jump scares and call it a day. The moldy lettuce doesn’t taste any better with some Parmesan cheese grated over it, but the audience is jolted. Boaz Yakin tries to substitute jump scares for substance in the first twenty minutes of his film Boarding School, and trust me, those are minutes that you can’t get back.
Jacob (Luke Prael) is a young man who dresses up in the clothes of the dead-grandmother-he-never-met and dances while his parents away. His mother screams that she wants to kill him after the first jump scare before the movie descends into painfully boring minutiae (Here’s Jacob making a sandwich! Here he is reading comic books! Now he’s watching Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, a better movie than this one!) before Jacob finally meets with Dr. Sherman (Will Patton) and his parents agree to send him to boarding school.
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