Dangerously Close (1986)

Dangerously Close (1986)-* *

Directed By: Albert Pyun

Starring: Carey Lowell, John Stockwell, J. Eddie Peck, Thom Matthews, Madison Mason and Branford Bancroft

Donny Lennox (Peck) is a kid who is so poor, he can’t afford a new fishbowl for his fish which is too big for the current bowl. Luckily, his journalism abilities have given him a chance to go to the upscale high school for rich kids called “Vista Verde” in the magnet program. He is on the school newspaper.

You know Vista Verde is a spoiled school for the upper class because they have a salad bowl in the cafeteria where kids can just help themselves to servings of tomatoes and other leafy greens. 

Donny is friends with Krooger Raines (Bancroft, of Damned River and A Time To Die fame), a crude dude with an attitude. He has a mohawk haircut and a Knight Rider-type car. His license plate says “Beast” and everyone in town knows him as the “Kroog-Warrior”. He listens to punk and ska music and he has a brash personality.

The only problem is that there is a group of teenagers at Vista Verde known as the Sentinels. They go around hazing and terrorizing their enemies and sometimes they end up dead. Krooger defies them and they get into a punch-up in the cafeteria, and in the scuffle they knock over the precious salad bowl. Then they try to lynch Krooger, but he just might be too wily for them.

The leader of the Sentinels is McDevitt (Stockwell of Born To Ride fame). As the Sentinels ramp up their criminal activities, one of the followers, Brian (Matthews) feels it is going too far, so he ends up on the hit-list. McDevitt is abusive to his girlfriend Julie (Lowell) so she teams up with Donny to get to the truth. As it turns out, The Sentinels have a hideout with a command center with lasers, monitors and VCRs and they tape all their dastardly deeds. Whose side is hardened ‘Nam vet Principal Corrigan (Mason) really on?

In the tradition of 80s high school movies such as: Pump Up The Volume (1990), The New Kids (1985), Class Of 1984 (1982), and most notably Heathers (1989), 'Close is a lackluster mélange of all the above. If you put the aforementioned movies in a blender and dump the results in a sewer, the end result might resemble Dangerously Close. Even Lowell’s out-of-the-pool introduction is an echo of Fast Times As Ridgemont High (1982). This movie was ahead of its time in three ways: The banter of the rich, spoiled high schoolers in the L.A. presages  "The Hills" (yuck and ugh) and the fact that the Sentinels filmed their pranks predates Youtube. Thirdly, the 45-year-old “high schoolers” predates Beverly Hills 90210.

One of the odd touches in the film is a road sign that states: “Vista Verde 3km” What is this? Europe?

Despite the fact that it comes to an anti-climactic conclusion, one of the bright spots is the killer 80’s soundtrack which is proudly announced on the VHS box in type bigger than the actor’s names. We know if we saw that this movie contained the hit song “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer we would be renting it immediately.

Get “Dangerously Close” to renting this classic tonight!

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett

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