High School Hell.

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You thought school was bad, this is worse.
You thought bullies were cruel, these ones are crueller.
You thought teachers were severe, this one will ruin your every living moment.

Confessions

Confessions is about as far away from High School Musical as you can get. Beneath the neat uniforms, the prim teacher and the innocent teen faces of the opening scene lies a network of deadly secrets and bloody, drawn-out revenge. A softly spoken teacher begins to relate her life story to her pupils so calmly that it takes a while to notice that she’s actually condemning two of her class as murderers of her own three-year child. As the tale turns into a trial, the evidence is shown, the guilty students are identified and the first shocking blow of the sick revenge to come is dealt. This revenge is by no means sweet: laws are out of the window, lives are on the line, knives on the table, bombs under the desk, toxic chemicals fill the shelves, HIV is in your milk carton.

This Japanese psychological thrillerr, built around the shameless confessions of central characters, is harrowing and dark yet death is doled out in full daylight. Clichéd dark alleys are replaced by a clinical doctor-surgery-style blue filter as these murderers have nothing to hide, proud of their vengeful conquests. Shame, regret and guilt are long forgotten sentiments as both teacher and pupils become obsessed with plotting the most intelligent strategies for revenge and death.

Forget the teachers’ pets and classroom pranks of Glee, this is the high school film of the year.

Confessions is showing at the ICA from 18 February.

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