A teacher's fears about security prove justified when an invasion of youths delivers a grisly fate.

British Prime Minister David Cameron may advocate hugging “hoodies” (criminal hooded-top-wearing teens), but they once again receive unsympathetic screen treatment in Johannes Roberts’ low-budget high-school slasher pic “F.” A teacher’s alarmist fears about campus security prove justified when a silent invasion of faceless youths delivers grisly fates to unlucky, late-working faculty. Even domestically, “F” is unlikely to prove a core-curriculum choice for cinema auds. Genre fans may opt for remedial classes in ancillary.

Veteran thesp David Schofield (also one of the pic’s exec producers) plays divorced, alcoholic English teacher Robert, whose idea of quality time with his near-estranged daughter Kate (Eliza Bennett) is giving her after-school detention. This tactic unwittingly places them both in mortal jeopardy when unknown attackers strike. Helmer Roberts enjoys exploring every corner of this atypically well-resourced state-run school, stalking victims in a gym, darkroom, metal shop and art room. But the film’s focus on the grizzled lead protag, rather than the agile adversaries closer to its target aud’s age, may prove a commercial misstep. Green-tinged lensing provides a unifying, if oppressive, aesthetic, while the sparse, haunting score, incorporating sinister choral elements, makes the grade.

F

U.K.

Production

An Optimum Releasing release of a Capital Markets Film Finance presentation of a Black Robe production. (International sales: SC Films Intl., London.) Produced by Ernest Riera, Paul Blacknell. Executive producers, David Schofield, Florent de Montbel, Yannick Lucas, Simon Buck, Sarah Ruff, Neil Squires, Richard Thaiss, Neil Blacknell, Mark Gossage, Christophe Bagot, Una Lodge, Mark Beeston. Directed, written by Johannes Roberts.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Tim Sidell-Rodriguez; editor, John Palmer; music, Neil Stemp; production designer, Malin Lindholm; art director, Duncan Hammond; costume designer, Anne-Louise Day. Reviewed at Soho Screening Rooms, London, Sept. 14, 2010. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

David Schofield, Eliza Bennett, Ruth Gemmell, Finlay Robertson, Roxanne McKee, Juliet Aubrey, Emma Cleasby, Tom Mannion, Max Fowler, Jamie Kenna.

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