Detained Movie Review

Written by Daniel Benson


Official Site



Written and directed by Jason Tammemägi

15 Minutes, Not rated


Ciaran O'Brian as Thomas Doyle
Matthew Darragh as Adult Doyle
Ben Morris as Mark
Jarlath Conroy as McAlester
Brendan Morrisey as Caretaker



Normally a model student, Thomas Doyle finds himself in detention under the watchful eye of Mr McAlester. When a latecomer arrives at the door of the detention room, McAlester steps back in abject horror as the student he expects to find there is instead a blood soaked zombie.

Doyle manages to escape the room and drag his best friend Mark with him. But there's a problem. Mark has been bitten — and every horror fan knows the fate of someone on the receiving end of a zombie bite.

Thomas Doyle has picked a bad day to get into trouble.

With his friend slowly dying, and only a torch for protection, Doyle must escape from the school via the darkened hallways, which are teeming with flesh eating zombies. Can he make it out alive?

And, if he does, will it be to a world worth living in?



For the second time in as many months I've been considerably impressed by a low budget movie from my own country. First off, from England, was Pat Higgins' feature length TrashHouse, and now comes Jason Tammemägi's zombie short filmed on location in Ireland.

Tammemägi cut his directorial teeth on several short movies and educational features, some of which have won critical acclaim, but Detained marks his first foray into the horror genre.

Detained is, quite simply, stunning. Like a sprint it takes off just after Mr McAlester's monologue on the perils of apathy. It doesn't let up until the conclusion — which spins an interesting twist on the preceeding events. It is packed with impressive editing and visual effects, and runs almost like a promo for a forthcoming zombie epic. If Romero decided to make School of the Dead, this could very well be the frontrunner.

The miniscule cast was selected from an Irish theatre school and all the young cast show incredible competence in their craft, especially Ciaran O'Brian, who plays the lead role of Thomas Doyle.

But, perhaps the biggest catch for Tammemägi was casting the role of McAlester to Jarlath Conroy, better known as McDermott from George Romero's Day of the Dead. His involvement in the project ensures interest from genre fans, plus a solid performance from the Irish actor.

Drawing on influences such as Japanese horror movies and the Silent Hill video games, Jason Tammemägi has produced a short which is slick, suspenseful and respectful to its peers without being derivative. He shot the movie as a promotional tool to garner interest for a larger, feature length project. Genre fans should keep their fingers crossed that it happens.

And soon.


Video, Audio and Special Features:

Not graded, as this is a screener disc. The picture is presented in a 1.85:1 (16:9) aspect ratio and is clear and well defined, even though most of the movie takes place by torchlight in the corridors of the school. The music and sound effects, presented in a DD 2.0 soudtrack, add an eerie tension to Doyle's passage to the outside world.



Movie: – A fantastic zombie debut for this young director.
Video: n/a
Audio: n/a
Features: n/a
Overall: – More please.




© 2005 Horror No use of this review is permitted without expressed permission from Horror

Daniel Benson
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UK Editor
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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