Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bu-ray Review - The New Kids (1985)

*This is sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
There were a slew of teens in peril movies released in the 1980s. A few of these titles became classics and many others have mostly been forgotten, such as 1985's The New Kids starring a young Lori Loughlin and James Spader.

The New Kids was released this week to Blu-ray (R; 90 mins; $14.98) for the very first time by Mill Creek Entertainment. There are no special features or bonus extras. It does come with an '80s VHS-style DVD slipcover. 

Directed by Friday the 13th's Sean S. Cunningham, the film centers around Loren and Abby McWilliams (played by Shannon Presby and Lori Loughlin), whose parents were killed in an accident. With no were else to go, the siblings pack their bags and move to a small Florida town to live with their Uncle Charlie on his roadside amusement park.

After helping their uncle get the amusement park in working shape, Loren and Abby start school at the local high school, where I guess you can say things don't go so well there. Unknowingly to Abby, Dutra (played by James Spader) and his redneck gang make a bet to who can take Abby's virginity. However, Abby rejects all their attempts to sweep her off her feet. This leads to Dutra and his goons harassing, stalking, and tormenting Abby and her brother.

The film was critically panned and bombed at the box office; taking in under $200,000 on a $6 million budget.

Final Thoughts

When a decent '80s movie flops at the box office, eventually it becomes a cult classic, but that isn't the case with The New Kids. I had convinced myself I didn't know the film even existed until I heard about the Blu-ray release, but this isn't exactly true. The art cover for the DVD jacket (not the slipcover) is a badly photoshopped and it doesn't represents the movie correctly. I had seen the art cover in the $5 DVD bin at Walmart several years ago, which makes the movie look like a cheesy Afterschool Special than a theatrical thriller. I prefer the new slipcover VHS look!

Honestly, I almost didn't request to review this Blu-ray on the fact that it stars Lori Loughlin. I've never been a fan of Full House and after hearing about the college scandal earlier this year, I'm just not interested in the actress. Then I noticed Sean S. Cunningham directed the film and I instantly needed to watch this flick. Plus, it also stars James Spader, who's good in any role he plays.

The movie starts off a little corny with Tom Atkins (in a cameo role) jogging with his kids (a.k.a. - army brats) and a few minutes later the parents are killed off-screen. Despite the fact their parents had just died, the kids are very eager to leave their home and travel to Florida to live in a worn down amusement park. It feels like a typical '80s teen drama until the creepy James Spader shows up with his gang and torments the army brats. Now when I think of a "gang" in Florida, my mind drifts back to the '80s series Miami Vice with the nicely dressed, rich bad guys, but in this film we get a bunch of deranged rednecks!

While there are some horror aspects to the film, there aren't too many thrills, which I can understand why audiences weren't too intrigued back in 1985. Horror movies were a big deal in the '80s and a few scary scenes would have helped The New Kids, though there are plenty of malevolence scenes, which surprised me quite a bit.

Is it just me or was James Spader typecast as a sleazy character way too many movies during the '80s? There was Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, The New Kids, etc..

Anyway, the acting from the entire cast is pretty decent and the cinematography is really good. There's a few decent '80s tracks in the film - Stand Up, Making a Move, Edge of Survival, and Over and Over and Over Again.

The picture and sound transfer to Blu-ray are excellent. There's an English subtitle option on the disc.

Overall, The New Kids is a forgotten '80s thriller gem that deserves to find a new life on Blu-ray.

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