Hulu’s Into the Dark series debuted in 2018 with its first season of 12 episodes, and it’s been renewed for a second season airing in October 2019. The horror anthology series consists of feature-length episodes, released at the start of each month, where the theme of each episode is based on the month’s major holiday.
August’s installment, School Spirit, focuses on a group of teens — Erica (Annie Q.), Brett (Corey Fogelmanis), Lizzy (Jessi Case), Vic (Julian Works) and Russ (Philip Labes), who land themselves in Saturday detention while Mr. Armstrong (Hugo Armstrong), the vice principal, periodically checks in. Things go awry when bad students go missing and all the fingers point to the school mascot, the Admiral.
That plot should sound familiar. The ’80s classic, The Breakfast Club, has a scarily similar plot. The 1985 movie is about five teens bonding in Saturday detention. The characters in both movies even match. Erica is supposed to be Claire (Molly Ringwald), the goody two-shoes; Brett is supposed to be Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), the nerd; Lizzy is supposed to be Allison (Ally Sheedy), the basket case; Vic is supposed to be Bender (Judd Nelson), the rebel; and Russ is supposed to be Andy (Emilio Estevez), the jock. Even the authority figures in both movies are shockingly similar. Both Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Vernon (Paul Gleason) are verbally abusive to the students.
“I [read the script with] expectations about who my character Erika Yang and all the other characters, were,” Annie Q said in an interview with Refinery29. “They seem like perfect prototypes out of a John Hughes film. Then the script went into a totally different direction than I thought.”
Furthermore, both the film’s setting and dialogue are eerily similar. Between the use of “turd” and the specific number of detentions given to characters, it’s obvious that School Spirit is inspired and blatantly mimicking The Breakfast Club.
Perhaps the most obvious ode to the teen classic was when Vic says to Erica, “Don’t get it twisted, Erica Yang. We’re not friends. I know when Monday comes, you’re gonna act like you don’t know me, so I’m gonna do my own thing.”
34 years prior, Brian asks the group in The Breakfast Club, “I know it's kind of a weird time, but I was just wondering, um, what is gonna happen to us on Monday? ... I mean I consider you guys my friends… ” A few minutes later, Claire gives an answer, “Oh, be honest, Andy. If Brian came walking up to you in the hall on Monday, what would you do? I mean picture this, you're there with all the sports. I know exactly what you'd do: You'd say ‘hi’ to him and when he left, you'd cut him all up, so your friends wouldn't think you really liked him!”
The horror aspect in School Spirit is subpar and reminiscent of a teen scream, and the Admiral becomes less scary the more screen time it got. By the end of the film, the Admiral is just another character that the audience knows to watch out for. The plot twist of the film is predictable, and the theme of the movie is questionable. Hulu’s School Spirit could be a guilty pleasure, especially with its odes to The Breakfast Club, but it’s definitely not one to see during a scary movie marathon.