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F - Optimum Releasing Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Ray Casta   
Thursday, 27 January 2011

Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Written by: Johannes Roberts
Produced by: Ernest Riera, Paul Blacknell
Edited by: John Palmer
Music by: Neil Stemp
Cast: David Schofield, Eliza Bennett, Juliet Aubrey, Ruth Gemmell
Year: 2010
Country: UK
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 19 min

Official Website: F

Distributor: Optimum Releasing

Following in the footsteps of "Ils" ("Them") and "Eden Lake," "F" is about what happens when students turn on their teachers.  At its core, it is a story about a hardworking English teacher, Robert Anderson (David Schofield) who is brutally attacked by a student in the opening sequence.  After a year hiatus, he resumes his teaching position at his school.  Nothing is the same, however.  Separated from his wife and daughter, his life is in utter disarray.  Turning to alcohol daily, he is a step away from a nervous breakdown.  Further adding to his recent issues, the school administration refuses to support his lawsuit.  During after school detention, the school is sieged by a group of hooded teenagers who vow to kill anyone and everyone in their path.

As director Johannes Roberts keeps things relatively simple, the story plays like a modern day take on John Carpenter's "Assault On Precinct 13" with kids in the role of the vicious gun-toting criminals and the school in place of the prison setting.  For this British slasher, the cool setting of a run down school is original enough to sustain its thin plot.  As the atmosphere is thoroughly creepy and mysterious, the school setting is a perfect place for the creeping antagonists to take advantage of its deserted space.  The film follows the standard slasher guidelines where the characters separate from each other, and are picked off one by one.  The potential victims, including student faculty and a couple students are no match to the silent, hooded killers.  Some are lured to their impending doom, some walk right into it.

In the manner of the murderous antagonists, the filmmakers suggest an almost supernatural quality.  Like spiders, they crawl around, scramble and jump onto things as they stalk and feed on their helpless prey.  Their faces are never shown, nor do they utter a single word.  By keeping the killers faceless and silent, the film maintains an air of unpredictability.  We never quite know when they will strike, who they'll target next, or where they are within the school.  Victims are constantly outnumbered, and it begins to feel too convenient to where the victims are found and how they don't react realistically.  The first half of the film is filled with taut, gripping terror.  At first, we are pulled into its creepy atmosphere.  Hook, line and sinker, we buy into it.  Unfortunately, things become too nonsensical and stupid for us to ignore.  Everything is so conveniently set up to the point where realism is thrown out of the window.  We witness the killers jump around like monkeys for no good reason and we are stuck scratching our heads.

No explanation is given as to why anything is happening.  We have no idea why the killers target the remaining people inside the school, and we aren't given the slightest clue.  Perhaps the ambiguity will work for some, but by leaving numerous unanswered questions here, there is an empty feeling we're left with.  The movie cleverly implies real time, which makes sense as to why none of the victims escape the building and run for their lives.  The only character who figures something is up is our protagonist, Robert Anderson.  He attempts to warn everyone in time, while he desperately searches for his daughter missing somewhere in the school.  One of the bright spots of the film is the performance given by Schofield, who plays Anderson with a raw intensity.  We feel his emotional turmoil and his pain.  We want him to reconcile with his daughter and rescue her before falling victim to the antagonists.

Although most of its violence is kept off-screen, "F" has the tendency to be a menacing, vicious little film.  The aftermath of the wanton killings are shown in gruesome detail, with no easy treatment on the victims.  The young killers murderously maim and electrocute without mercy.  The prosthetic work is truly special.  There is a particular image that sticks with the viewer.  Unfortunately, the kills are pretty repetitive and become tiresome.  We see the same set-up where a character escapes one killer, only to fall in the clutches of another.  Yawn.  We can look past the random, lack of motivation of the killings.  Outside of the main character, however, we don't care a lick about any of the others.  The cast is credible enough.  They act naturally frightened, but that's all they exist for.  Worst of all, "F" has one of the lamest excuses for an ending I have seen in quite some time.  I am not sure if the filmmakers ran out of money or not, but whatever the reason may be, the ending is abrupt and an awful choice.  I imagine a large majority of its viewers will hate it.

Despite its many flaws, "F" does not end up a total failure.  It has a great lead performance, a creepy atmosphere and some impressive effect work by Dan Martin.  The concept is a daring one: Students who turn on their school and teachers.  A teacher as the film's troubled protagonist whom we care about -- a man who is stuck within the empty corridors of a school that turned its back on him.  There are some decidedly good things about Johannes Roberts' "F," but I cannot help but feel there's a much better film here.


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Jaime   | |2012-11-20 07:05:34
I think on this movie public has been outsmarted, or overrated somewhere.
think it was supposed to be quite clear thought never told that our killer is
the protagonist, and hooded people is just a product of his delusional mind.

From this point of view, everything makes sense, or not, but it is clear its
professor broken mind perception of reality.
In Sherlock Holmes's said:
"when you reject the impossible, whatever it rests must be the truth no
matter how improbabe it is"
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