"Warning, lock down is now in progress. 30 seconds 'til lock down. Testing to begin in 15 minutes."
If you want a perfect example to show how to transform a rather original movie into a typical teenage story that can be followed by an infinite number of sequels, "The Thinning" is the right movie for that. Admittedly, at the first moment I found the basic idea masterful. A sort of "The Purge" on an academic level. It turns out that the natural resources of planet Earth are no longer sufficiently present and livable space is limited because the oceans have appropriated land (due to the global warming I presume). The world decided to take drastic measures. In the U.S. they found the ideal solution. And it's not what you'd think it'll be. Nope, no birth control or the elimination of older folks who are terminally ill. The bright idea is that school-age youngsters need to undergo an ultimate final exam. You had to endure panic anxiety when it was the period of exams again at school? Well, this would be your worst nightmare in that case. You don't pass this exam, there's not even a possibility for a resit. This way they attempt to reduce the population by 5% annually.
So far the ingenious part of the film. I honestly admit that the images made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Especially when I saw those innocent little children taking their first "Thinning" exam and I suddenly started realizing that some of them won't have a bright future. The rest is as predictable as it can get and at times it's really terribly ridiculous and unrealistic. I could live with once again that idyllic image of a superior America and that they are using this process so that a more intelligent population would arise. As a result the U.S. would become the best country in the world once again. Stunning. They'll achieve this by eliminating all the dumb kids. A revolutionary idea that'll disgust you at first, but at the same time it's so fascinating that your curiosity flares up again and you'll keep looking intensely.
But then ridiculous events start to rule. When someone uses camera images to figure out a password or someone tries to pick up a tiny pin lying on the floor 3 meters far with a magnetized iron wire, I start to sigh again. Add to this the obligatory romantic slant with a momentary mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and I start groaning even more. Anyway, I was wondering why the unfortunate students who didn't pass, needed to be disinfected once more. Admittedly, afterwards it became clear. What I didn't expect was the fact it was all so predictable. Halfway through I could enumerate roughly what was about to happen and how it would end. Only I didn't foresee the ultimate ending. And this ending irritated me the most. An open end in such a way that a follow-up appears to be self-evident. And everybody knows what I think of sequels.
If you think about it more deeply, this film actually is a little reflection of our society at present time. On a political level strings are pulled, so a situation turns out better for those that rule. Wealthy and influential families sometimes have an advantage. Obtaining a scholarship because someone excels in sports, and thus it's not necessary to have a high I.Q., is something that exists in the U.S. nowadays. And the ordinary students are as always the victim (even though they have the correct number of brain cells). All in all a shocking subject with some acceptable acting, even though it's a low-budget film. Had they made a different ending, my opinion about it would probably be milder. Now they have more or less a limp commercial excuse to come up with some more sequels.
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