Thoughts on Mikhail Red’s Dead Kids

Ever since I saw the coming-of-age thriller “Birdshot” by Mikhail Red, I’ve been conscious of his works. There are three, in particular, I’m very excited to see – Dead Kids (2019), Block Z (2020), Magic Temple (TBA). On December 1st last year, Netflix finally premiered Dead Kids.

What are my thoughts? Based on the details Netflix post on their site, I can say that this movie is indeed dark and suspenseful!

Dead Kids

Directed by: Mikhail Red
Production company: Globe Studios, Pelikula Red and Netflix
Cast: Kelvin Miranda, Vance Larena, Khalil Ramos, Jan Silverio, Markus Paterson, Sue Ramirez and Gabby Padilla

A socially awkward teen bonds with a group of misfits who plot to abduct the school’s arrogant rich kids – until their kidnapping scheme turns deadly.

I’ve read some reviews and I understand them. But being a Filipino and residing in the Philippines, I understand Mikhail Red’s vision, his representation. He did not elaborate on the scenes and setting but he is indeed telling the truth.

Technology & Social Media

With the advancement of technology and several developments, society, in general, is affected in both a good and bad way. How you ask? Well, there is this thing called WiFi.

It’s there everywhere you go. And if there’s none, you can still stay connected because there is another thing called mobile data and oh, there is also a hotspot. This simply means you can do your schoolwork and work easier and faster which is good. But this can also lead to other things, especially with this thing called social media.

Several people on planet Earth want to be Internet famous. Sure, some use their presence to impart knowledge and empower others while some just want to be famous and have the highest following in their group or community.

Real Issues of The World

Besides technology and social media, there are also the real and frightening issues of the world. In case you didn’t know, the film is loosely based on the Letran kidnap-ransom in 2018 which involved high school students.

Now back to the film. If you saw Dead Kids a while back, let me refresh your memory. All the teen leads and support belong to a different class which you can see based on their lifestyle.

Moreover, you can see that there is a hierarchy wherein the richest holds power. Take Chuck Santos (Markus Paterson) the rich but arrogant bully with 50,000 Instagram followers for example. He holds the upper hand and has sidekicks who help him do his “job” of bullying other students most especially Mark Sta. Maria (Kelvin Miranda) a poor but very hardworking scholar.

Yes, there is a huge gap between these two characters but there are other students who have a small gap with Chuck. But that didn’t stop him from being a jerk. Of course, this has also something to do with Chuck’s father, a wealthy drug lord who is protected by the local police chief.

And that police chief’s son is Charles Blanco (Vance Larena). Charles secretly despises Chuck for being a bully and Chuck’s father for blackmailing his family. Thus, this is where the plot to kidnap the bully started.

Dark and Suspenseful

With that small detail, I bet you already get how dark this film is. But with the type of storytelling and setting created, I was hooked from the beginning all the way to the end. There were several complexities presented in the film but they were able to put all together allowing a balance between crime thriller and teen drama.

It’s also worth mentioning that the cast especially Vance Larena who played Charles Blanco, the serious and brooding mastermind of the kidnapping scheme was great. I’m glad about the selection of young actors.

And though the film is dark and suspenseful, the natural characteristics of the youth is still evident. They make funny jokes, to be honest, and oh, they curse a lot. Sometimes too much.

The Lesson

Before I end this post, I want to share with you the line Janina Camiloza played by Sue Ramirez said to Mark Santa Maria played by Kelvin Miranda,

“You were never a dead kid; you just didn’t know how to live.”

If you noticed, our characters are living in a world where they didn’t have that much interaction with adults. Now, what does that say? It can mean the adults were never there for them when they needed them. It can mean the adults were the ones who ruined their outlook.

Whatever the reason is, there is only this one character who didn’t let it ruin her dreams. I know Janina Camiloza played by Sue Ramirez didn’t have much screen time but she delivered the best and most important line in the film. 

If you want to see Mikhail Red’s Dead Kids, prepare your ears. Also, do not let younger children watch this, okay? If you are sharing an account, be careful so they don’t accidentally click on it.

Mikhail Red’s Dead Kids 10/10 IMDb

I’m on IMDb!

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