Cover of Detention the series on Netflix

Netflix Series Detention (2020) Review: It’s More Than Meets the Eye

Based on the video game Detention, released Jan 12, 2017, developed by Red Candle Games for Netflix, the T.V show comprises 8 episodes that tell a detailed story of a transferred student who suffers from mental illness. Oddly, I experienced a sense of familiarity after taking so many social science and history courses back in the day when I see literacy references appearing in the show. Great writers (Plato, Orwell, Walden) helped me understand quickly what the plot was about. It gets an A + for using influential books as props to illustrate that point. I was entertained all the way.

This show is worth checking out if you are into East Asian horror and also if you are a big fan of poetry, which I think is an outdated art form, but when incorporated with other mediums, it becomes extremely powerful. Poetry is the form of using words to paint an image and evoke feelings; its rhythm helps create memorable lines too. There are some emotions that you cannot describe alone just through the use of prose. Only poetry can deliver powerful images to abstract concepts such as life and death so that we can understand them on a deeper level.  I like how Detention glorifies the power of poetry through the use of a dead schoolgirl’s poem. It allows me to see and feel the political oppression in a small Taiwanese town through its high school. Thus making it a hauntingly political tale that gives me a glimpse of the culture on the island. As a horror fan, horror is a genre that is very difficult to execute so when a rare one comes by, I can’t help but want to share I with the rest of the world. I wrote a short review on the game a few years ago. Please check it out. No spoiler I promise.

For my final thought, the show made me wonder why grownups imprison students with their outdated ideology. What purpose does it serve other than complete control of one’s sovereignty? Perhaps going to detention may not be such a bad thing because it’s “in the pursuit of freedom [against the authoritative government, we find] inner peace,” I quote the counselor from the show. The school was just a training ground for a more authoritative political system. But even if we escape, “outside this place is just a bigger crazier world,” says Liu Yun-hsiang, the main female protagonist. So what is the solution? Death? Overall, if you are looking for a thought-provoking horror title on Netflix, I highly recommend this one.

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