when i was young(er) i used to get home late turn on the t.v. and watch lots of random films, most of which i don't remember for some reason or other, this timeslot usually reserved for the banal. but on one occassion this film came on, and it absolutely blew me away. now, probably the best part of twenty years later i finally own it on dvd, and thankfully it still holds up. quite often films and tv shows from ones younger days are a let down. this is not.
the plot is simple; a boarding school full of boys taken over by terrorists. but what really reels you in is a combo of three things. great acting, tension, and brutality.
all of the actors in this are top drawer, but louis gosset jr and will wheaton really shine. the bad guy, whose name i don't recall, is equally brilliant and menacing. the brutal beginning really ramps up the tension, and gives us a clue as to whats in store. the violence is well executed, and not over the top to devalue the film, but horrific enough to engage you. all too often in films they shy away from actually showing the gritty and have the violence implied. which numbs the viewer. this definitely is not the case here. as the boys rebel against their captors, you are drawn in and made to care about the various characters, their lives, and the outcome of their situation, which takes a nice interesting twist. one of the best films of its generation.