5 July 2016



If you like a horror film that has pretty much the whole history of English literature contained within it, then boy! Are you in for a lovely surprise, heh-heh-heh. If, on the other hand, you dropped out of school just as soon as your folks allowed it, you don't know your Dickens from a hole in the ground and you've only heard of ANIMAL FARM in the context of a porno movie, then I honestly don't know what you'll make of this unusual horror film. The lady really knows her literary onions too, I must say.

I must confess to being firmly in the swotty category when it comes to Eng. Lit. It was the only subject I was any good at in school. My Maths teachers all hated me because I was as thick as the middle cut of an elephant's shite when it came to numbers. I made one of them cry once with my inability to follow simple instructions. Poor Mrs. D. I really had nothing against her. She was just doing her job. I hope she's doing okay now.

The Phys. Ed. teachers looked on me as the lowest form of life. That's when I actually turned up to class, haha, and wasn't hiding in the classroom pretending it was my time of the month. Naturally, I had my period three Monday mornings out of every four...!

My English teacher loved me, though. I was her star pupil. I've always been a bookworm, so I wasn't at all unhappy with the numerous references to classic literature in THE LESSON. In case you haven't guessed, the film centres around a couple of school students, and the setting is, shall we say, classroom-like. Let's take a squint, shall we, at the plot of this rather sick and twisted movie set in modern-day England.

Finlay and Joel are two barely sixteen-year-old students. They couldn't give a toss about school and think it's a waste of time. Nothing unusual there, you might say. They're petty thieves and vandals too and, to them, the best part of school is tormenting their stressed-out English teacher, Mr. Gale, who's got a sick, maybe terminally-ill mother in hospital and a strong feeling of disappointment with the way his life's turned out.

Fin, a good-looking chap who actually looks like pictures I've seen of a young Cristiano Ronaldo, is our main character. His mum is dead, his dad is out of the picture and he lives with his older brother Jake and Jake's sexy, flirtatious Eastern European girlfriend Mia.

The selfish Jake seems to want rid of his little brother out of the house and there's an attraction between Fin and Mia that can only mean trouble down the line. Fin has no-one to turn to at a time in his life when he needs a friend or mentor the most. 

Then one beautiful twilit evening, Fin and Joel have an encounter on a quiet road that changes the way they think about school and learning forever...

For the rest of the film, there's either strong bloody violence or the threat of it. You'll probably need a strong stomach yourself to be able to handle it. You'll see an amazing array of torture tools that actually put me in mind of the HOSTEL films, they were so intimidating-looking. I don't like the instruments of torture. They're too pointy and stabby and they can be, you know, inserted places.

Anyway, you'll either be horrified by what's going on in the second half of the film or you'll wholeheartedly approve, haha. After all, don't most folks nowadays think that the kids of today are out of control and need bringing into line? Heh-heh-heh, I'm only kidding. I ain't getting myself into no trouble for endorsing violence against even the most obnoxious and ASBO-riddled of rugrats...!

This extraordinary film would have worked equally well as a non-horror movie, believe it or not. For the first twenty minutes or, before all the bad stuff kicked in, I was so engrossed in the scenes of Fin's sad, crappy go-nowhere life that I would have been quite happy just to keep watching those.

There were heartbreaking flashbacks Fin with of his lovely, kind-hearted mum and brutal father which I loved. A gritty domestic drama revolving around Fin, Jake and Mia, with school scenes and scenes of Fin with his loser mates thrown in would have made a terrific watch as well.

 These are all interesting, even intriguing characters and it would have been no hardship to see them developed a bit more. It's just a thought, anyway. By the way, I didn't approve of the ending. He's only bloody sixteeen, for crying out loud...! 

THE LESSON is out on DVD this summer (July/August 2016), courtesy of the surprisingly jolly folk at FRIGHTFEST PRESENTS. Other great horror flicks due to be released by the same people during the same time-frame include LAST GIRL STANDING, THE UNFOLDING, LANDMINE GOES CLICK and CURTAIN. You can get more details from www.frightfestpresents.com if you so wish, my lovely mesdames et messieurs.

I'll leave you with the immortal words of the English poet William Blake from his great work Songs Of Experience, but I sneakily won't tell you why, haha.

O rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Doth thy life destroy.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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