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THE NEW KIDS, 1995
Movie Review

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THE NEW KIDS,    MOVIE POSTERTHE NEW KIDS, 1985
Movie Reviews

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Starring: Shannon Presby, Lori Loughlin, James Spader, John Philbin, David H. MacDonald, Eric Stoltz, Vince Grant
Review by Jay Radosavljevic


SYNOPSIS:

Orphaned Abby and Loren move to a remote town to live with their aunt and uncle. They are good hard-working kids but Abby attracts the attention of the worst members of their school. She resists their vile propositions only for them to take offence and turn nasty. Loren does everything he can to defend his sister and the rest of the family but the situation gets very violent, very quickly.

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REVIEW:

‘The New Kids’ follows siblings Abby and Loren through their harsh integration into a new community and new school. Their parents are killed in a terrible car accident on the way back from the career soldier father’s receiving of a medal from the president, no clichÈs spared, and the brother and sister go to live with their aunt and uncle in a backwater red neck town. The uncle has big ambitions and runs several small businesses including a gas station and a lame amusement park, the setting for an unnerving and psychopathic finale.

This relatively unknown cult teen film stars some of the big hitters from the 80’s genre = James Spader as low-life high school drug dealer Eddie Dutra (complete with pearl-snap cowboy shirts and a bad-ass pick-up), Lori Loughlin as prim and sexy Abby, who (unwittingly) attracts Dutra’s savage attention, Eric Stoltz as her passive wannabe boyfriend and Shannon Presby (who the hell is he?) as Loren, the super-fit brother who will never let anything bad happen to Abby, in true father-replacing style.

So, Abby innocently serves Dutra at her uncle’s garage – Dutra asks Abby to go with him to the school dance and she politely says no. In Dutra’s paranoid, drug addled eyes, this is enough to cause inexcusable offence and he and his gang of amphetamine fuelled, blood-thirsty goons go on a rampage against the whole family. They vandalise the family businesses – they terrorise the new kids, mainly targeting Abby = this is a step too far.

Loren takes it upon himself to protect his sister: who can blame him? He does well in a fist fight against the goons – he fights fair and shows himself to be honest and true – the whole school seems to get behind him, the only guy brave enough to stand up to the authority of Dutra and his boys. He even humiliates Dutra in private, breaking into his house, tying him up and threatening his life if he goes near his sister again. Dutra never tells a soul about this but declares that the family must pay. And pay big.

The revenge Dutra exacts is brutal. But Loren gives as good as his family is given.

I will not go into any more detail as I do not believe in giving the game away for anyone who hasn’t seen the film. What I will say is this: never before have I seen such an unconventional 80’s teen film. ‘The New Kids’ breaks the mould. You’ve seen the films that epitomise teen angst. You’ve seen the films that epitomise teen ambition. You have seen the films that epitomise teen sexual perversion. But until you’ve seen ‘The New Kids’, you haven’t seen everything the 80’s teen genre has to offer.

This film touches on all our fears and worst nightmares of what might or could happen to our loved ones and shoves them right in your face. You may have imagined what you would do if someone messed with your sister but this film shows you the absolute worst case scenarios and will drive any self respecting brother mad if he thinks about it too much.

What is amazing about ‘The New Kids’ is that despite the brutality, it still encompasses all the elements of the 80’s film that you would expect, and secretly love: the fashion, the music, the corny dialogue and the cheesy sentiments. The extra it gives us is what makes it such a great thriller. Teen based or not. After all, it isn’t Freddy Kruger or Basket Case causing the mayhem – it is a bunch of teenage boys – boys that you can believe exist in the real world.

‘The New Kids’ was directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who directed the original ‘Friday The 13th’ movie and you can see the influence his horror background had on the film. It is a true feat of cinema that should be experienced by any 80’s aficionado simply for the fact that it is utterly original within its genre but mainly because it will blow you away and leave you wondering ‘what if?’ ...

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