‘Dead Kids’: Teenage Angst Meets Social Relevance
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, April 02, 2020 5:59pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
We’ve seen high school-based films to last us a lifetime, and they often revolve on young love, the fight for popularity on the hallways, even to the point of musicals. There is always a common ground to films revolving high school—the jocks, the smarts, the wallflowers—it reminds us of our youth and innocence and the time where nothing mattered except people’s opinions of us. And Dead Kids, a film by Mikhail Red, is no different in taking you to what perhaps was the best or worst years of your lives--that is if your highschool life involved a kidnapping incident within the circle.
Dead Kids is a Filipino thriller film about an intelligent wallflower named Mark Sta. Maria (Kelvin Miranda). Rich and famous Chuck Santos (Markus Paterson) who is a bully to Mark usually torments him for the fun of it.
As his imploding anger for Chuck and financial pressures increase, Mark was approached by three other misfits: Charles Blanco (Vance Larena), Paolo Gabriel (Khalil Ramos), and Gideon Uy (Jan Silverio). Their proposition is to kidnap Chuck and ask his father for 30 million pesos as ransom.
With doubts in his head, Mark agreed to help them. And everything was a mess.
Hierarchy Disguised as High School Drama
Dead Kids is slow-paced and keeps all the action by the end--another reason why you should keep watching until the end. Its slow-burn approach builds up the suspense and bursts all the energy by the end of the scene.
This film is an attack on our country’s justice system and hierarchy, pointing particularly on the extrajudicial killings that became prevalent in our society. It shows how the rich like Chuck and those who have connections with the police like Blanco can escape. Those who are at the bottom of the “food chain” like Mark can be used as a pawn to the upper class’ schemes and they get all of the blame.
In the end, Dead Kids will disturb everyone, not with the climax, but what goes on during the aftermath. When things get ugly, the mastermind gets away while the poor will have an ending he won’t be ready to face. Our justice system should be shaken out of its ways. Otherwise, the dead kids of the past will continue to haunt the present, crying for the justice that was not served.