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Dismissed 2017


Distributed by Passion River Films, 154 Mt. Bethel Rd., Warren, NJ 07059; 732-321-0711

Directed by Benjamin Arfmann
DVD, color, 88 min.

General Adult
Bullying, Drama, Teachers, Teenagers, Violent Behavior

Date Entered: 06/26/2018

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

When young Lucas Ward (Dylan Sprouse) joins Mr. Butler’s English literature class, it’s clear from the outset he is not the typical suburban high school student. Highly intelligent and deeply motivated to succeed, Lucas has his eyes on Harvard University and will do whatever it takes to get there. After being named to second chair in chess club and receiving a B+ on an assignment, Lucas begins taking revenge on those who he perceives stand in his way to advanced placement. Although Butler (Kent Osborne) originally thinks he is simply being bullied by an over-zealous and inventive student, he quickly comes to see Lucas as a psychopath who spreads havoc and destruction everywhere he goes. The culminating scenes bring teacher and student into a direct and violent confrontation.

The tension in this direct-to-video psychological drama builds slowly and palpably. While the plot and characters are fairly standard fare in the genre of independent thrillers, the film is acted, edited, and paced to entertain. Recommended for viewers who enjoy a good scare.