“There’s definitely a message in all these accidents: the higher you feel, the deeper you fall.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
But when newcomer David (Maury) manages to knock them off one by one (without adult intervention, it should be noted):
… the remaining students prove themselves incapable of handling their newfound freedom — thus prompting Maury (once sincere and heroic, now cynical and heartless) to continue his descent down the slippery slope of retribution-by-death.
Peary offers a fascinating, in-depth political analysis of the film in his Cult Movies 2 (which I recommend reading). In a nutshell, he proposes that every character represents “a different political force”, and that Maury’s job “is to politicize [the two sympathetic protagonists], who are always neutral, and make them into activists willing to fight.”
Many have likened this film to George Orwell’s Animal Farm — another tale of power and corruption told from the perspective of “lower class” citizens — and the analogy is apt: high school students and farm animals both represent “oppressed” citizens who ultimately require more than simply “freedom” to improve their lot.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: