Top positive review
4.0 out of 5 starsDon't plan to make this film a part of your life, but don't pass it up either.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 26, 2017
I give the film four stars because I did find it genuinely entertaining. The premise is an interesting one, but (without giving away spoilers) the ending makes it seem like we're supposed to be happy with the result. In the end, with most of these films, much of the time the oppressive institution is what is brought down. In this case, one might think a film like this would try to stop "The Thinning" itself, but this film takes the interesting angle of forcing the viewer to see the ending as just and right. The Thinning is meant to be viewed as normal and within the film's canon and moral compass. Perhaps a sequel would dig deeper and actually try to stop The Thinning itself.
It would be interesting to know more about how this was all set up. The film alludes a bit to how it got started, and that the USA is the only country that does population control this way.
The production value is quite high, and people who frequently watch things on YouTube will recognize some of the cameos. Good music, too, which keeps the film engaging. A few of the characters (Mason King, for example) are pretty clichéd, but not in a way that doesn't match the rest of the script.
Do I think this film deserves a sequel? I'm not sure it's worthwhile to go out of your way to look to make one. It would have to be much bigger and bolder than the current script suggests the original author is capable of producing. And, with one of the main characters "gone," I would say it might have to start in another school or town and then get Laina involved as part of some sort of resistance group? Who knows.
And without giving anything away, the last ten seconds of the film open up a giant can of worms that just defies explanation.
And I do have one bone to pick with the source material. It says at one point that the UN decided all nations should reduce their populations by 5% every year. That is a massive number in the first few years that puts the Holocaust to shame. And the film just glosses over that completely. It's unclear how long this population control has been going on, but with all the High Schools basically built to exist as prisons with tons of security guards and teachers complicit in what's going on, and with all the students in the film accustomed to the annual Thinning, I'd say it's been going on at least 20 years. Which if you start at 10 billion means that the global population is now down to 3.5 billion assuming they've stuck to 5% per year. That's an insane number, and it's not clear to me that there is a way to show the audience that the world got so bad that people accepted this as "the way" and continued to do so for this long.
Anyway, that's my two cents. As far as B movies go, this is among the best. It's enjoyable as a sort of shock-and-awe thought experiment.
DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS LINE IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS
Ok so if the UN said the USA is supposed to reduce its population by 5%/year but they are using the students as slave labor, are they hiding this from the UN? Or is Assuru working with the UN? What's the deal with that? So did none of them actually die? The sequel would really, really have to stretch big to wrap up this massive plot-hole-ridden film.