‘Killer Grades’ is an immersive thriller about a high school student who gets caught up in the world of competitive gaming. It’s not so much about the game itself, but rather how it affects his life.
The Killer Grades is a book that is about an obsession with grades. It is told from the perspective of a teacher who has set herself on a mission to get her students into college after one of them gets straight A’s in the class.
‘Killer Grades’ is a cautionary story about the terrible consequences of the relentless pressure to attain academic brilliance, and it provides insight into a student’s tormented psyche. This thriller follows Michelle, an apparently bright and diligent student who manages to earn a spot on the academic decathlon squad by unrelenting dedication. It is directed by Jose Montesinos, who is known for films such as “Frenzy” and “Sinister Minister.” Michelle’s mother Katherine, like any other normal mother, is ecstatic and proud of her daughter’s accomplishments.
Things take a turn for the worst when a pupil is rushed to the hospital and her father is discovered dead, murdered, and hidden in the trunk of a vehicle. This gets Katherine’s alarm bells ringing, and she quickly recognizes that something is awry with this ostensibly distinguished and inoffensive group.
The majority of the shooting took place in Los Angeles during the coronavirus lockdown, which was accompanied by stringent health regulations. The video is completely fictitious, yet it brilliantly portrays the primary subject of students’ preoccupation with grades above their mental health and well-being. The script was written by Scott Collette and Dave Hickey.
Megan Ashley Brown, who plays Michelle, a bright teenage girl whose excellent grades earn her a spot on the decathlon squad, leads the brilliant ensemble of ‘Killer Grades.’ The star of ‘The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It’ and ‘Blood Brothers,’ who was born in Jacksonville, is best known for his roles in ‘The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It’ and ‘Blood Brothers.’ Michelle’s mother, Katherine, is played by Laurie Fortier, a Lifetime regular who has appeared on shows such as “The Walking Dead,” “Saving My Daughter,” and “Recipe for Abduction.” Liz Fenning portrays Wendy Katherine’s colleague, Angelina Folino plays Kerrie, a grade-obsessed kid, Zach Gold plays Mr. Lou, the film’s antagonist; Isabella Marquez-Johnson plays Sarah, who is inexplicably killed with her father; and Emma Nasfell plays Amy.
The story delves into the real-life consequences of academic pressure and the harrowing moral degradation that may result from pursuing a certain goal, whether personal, parental, or societal. The topic is particularly relevant to contemporary culture, as the rise in mental health problems among students as a result of the continuous pressure to compete with others in the academic sector for a piece of the future success pie has become a painful reality.
Kids all around the globe believe that getting high grades is important because it leads to future prosperity. One of the kids, Kerri, is eager to succeed because she views the team as her ticket to one of the world’s most renowned institutions. Michelle’s mother views Michelle’s participation in contests to determine which school has the most intellectual students as an opportunity for her daughter to achieve many great things in the future.
When one considers the facts, grades do play a role in achieving success in life, but they are not entirely accountable. For example, there are many successful people in Hollywood who dropped out of school and are now very successful.
The presence of an ill-intentioned senior student typically exacerbates these already combustible circumstances in schools. In this film, the academic bully is portrayed by Zach as Mr. Lou, the coach of the academic decathlon squad. The latter encourages students to excel in their studies and is not afraid to use whatever means required to guarantee that trainees reach their full potential, regardless of the circumstances.
Mr. Lou isn’t an obvious villain because he’s as nice and supportive as they come, he’s a great motivational speaker, and his outward appearance is as innocent as they come. But beneath this innocent exterior lies a damaged young adult harboring resentment from his past as a member of a team similar to the present.
Mr. Lou has one basic guideline for the team: the overall grade must be the same. This implies that regardless of the individuals’ individual grades, the lowest grade counts as the team’s total grade. This may seem to be unjust; nevertheless, it is done to promote cooperation and ensure that members grasp each other’s hands in order to achieve success as a group.
Being a member of the team puts a lot of strain on the kids, and this takes a toll on them. Mr. Lou is always willing to assist the children since he is motivated to win at any costs, not by giving them additional lessons but by providing them medicines. One tablet is for focus, while the other is for nervousness. Giving medications to children is now illegal; nevertheless, the instructor ensures that the instructions are well explained.
Michelle’s grades begin to slip as a result of what happened to her friend Sarah, and as she prepares to leave the team, Lou offers her a shortcut on the condition that she not inform her mother. Michelle is forced to put two and two together after an awakening, and she learns that all of the events and deaths she’s seen are linked, and the villain is closer than she thinks.
The visuals are good. The city cutaways peppered throughout the film serve to remind the viewer where the action is taking place. The lighting is excellent, and one can clearly distinguish between day and night in the pictures.
When Michelle takes the pills, the zoom-ins on her face, coupled with the heightened noises, let the viewer understand what the character is going through at the time. The soundtrack is also flawless, reaching new heights when suspiciously dubious occurrences occur and settling down when things are back to normal. The villain’s face is never shown.
We only see the hands when someone breaks into Michelle’s home. We never see the person who murders Wendy, breaks Sarah’s father’s skull, or pushes another student in front of an approaching vehicle in the opening scene, which piques viewers’ interest.
When Mr. Lou comes up at Michelle’s home and takes her mother hostage with a knife on her neck, the score keeps the adrenaline flowing. The action is fast-paced and thrilling due to the rapid cuts.
The actors put up a fantastic show. Brown was fantastic in the main role, delivering touching moments. As the caring, worried mother, Fortier was great, Zach Gold was beautiful as the innocent-looking concerned teacher with a dark purpose, and Kerrie was spot-on as the condescending bitch.
Jose Montesino’s film ‘Killer Grades’ is regarded one of his most successful works. The script is brilliantly written, the great ensemble delivers excellent performances, and the subject is as relevant to contemporary culture as it gets. Mr. Lou’s preoccupation with the decathlon, on the other hand, can’t help but make one grimace.
It is well worth your time since the tension, drama, and mystery will have you on the edge of your seat throughout. On September 20, ‘Killer Grades’ became available for streaming.
SCORE: 6 OUT OF 10
Killer Grades is a movie about an obsessive student who kills her boyfriend after he breaks up with her. The movie was released in theaters on October 27th, 2018. Reference: her deadly boyfriend.