Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’ve never seen any of this ‘High School Musical’ nonsense, though I’m thinking those kids are probably old enough that it should probably be called ‘Graduate School Musical’, but my twelve year old son is a HUGE fan. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the inner fortitude to actually go with him and see the third HSM flick since it didn’t come on TV like the first two, but as I told my boy, I got something even BETTER as I have secured, via my good friends at Netflix, a freshly pressed copy of ‘Sunday School Musical’ from our favorite film distro company who have made a bulk of their cheddar off of block buster knock offs… The Asylum! Now the boy had his doubts as the last knock off we saw was the extremely awful ‘Transmorphers’, and as he sat there scoffing at the validity of this movie, actions which I chastised him severely for as you can’t judge anything until you actually experience it. Of course these were merely words spewing from my mouth as I was fairly certain that ‘SSM’ would be terrible, past performance being an indicator of future expectations. Well friends, ‘Sunday School Musical’ wasn’t terrible. It was actually pretty good. It is actually the best movie EVER of the films that I have seen released under The Asylum banner.

Talented young actor Chris Chatman plays the role of Zach, a singing dancing rapping fool who leads the choir of his urban Christian School, who has just turned it out during a competitive performance to secure a spot at the Christian Choir Finals or something along those lines. Also at this competition is a cross town suburban choir led by the lovely Savannah (Candise Lakota) whose choir is somewhat lacking, but due to another choir failing to show up her crappy choir gets in the finals competition as well.

Unfortunately in the midst of preparing his choir for the big sing-off Zach gets some bad news as him mom has lost her nursing gig forcing he and his little brother to scuttle off to the other side of town to live with his aunt and also being forced to attend the Christian School of the Crappy Choir. Zach is also dealing with the absence of his

father who has been away for a while performing his duties as an armed forces officer in Iraq, though Zach’s best buddy Aundrea (Krystle Connor) could care less about any of this and is none to happy with Zach abandoning their team and she lets him know how upset she is in glorious song.  Things will even get worse for our urban Christian school for in addition to losing their top performer they are also out of operating capitol and will be closing down soon, leaving them unable to perform at the Choir super finals. 

Meanwhile Zach is trying to get accustomed to his new surroundings and Savannah is there to help him do just that.  Savannah by the way is struggling with her own issues as her mother has recently passed away and her minister father doesn’t know how to properly council his grieving daughter.  Savannah suggest that Zach should join their Choir to help them iron out the kinks, and though he is resistant at first, Savannah’s bubbly smile wins him over and in no time Zack has the once weak, stuck up choir hip hopping their way to keeping it real glory.  Still we have the issue of the school that’s closing across town which makes Zack mighty sad… until he comes up with an idea that would create one combined Super Choir, win the competition and grab the prize money to keep the failing school open.  But can these two separate choirs from two separate worlds put their differences to the side, come together as one and grab the glory?  You must have faith.  Or something along those lines.

My friends, Christopher would never lie to you.  The pieces for a complete disaster were certainly in place.  On the DVD extra’s director Rachel Goldenberg said she had like thirteen days to shoot this movie, and thirteen days is barely enough time to shoot any kind of movie much less a musical with virtually untrained actors, lots of singing, lots of choreography AND a first time director.  Mind you young Miss Goldenberg, who looks like she might be twenty-two, has on her resume a 1st A.D. credit on what could be the worst movie of ALL-TIME on the PLANET EARTH in the Asylum’s own Alien Vs. Hunter’. It’s simply looks as if there is no way on God’s green earth that this movie could possibly succeed. But it does succeed… and I tell you this shamefully knowing that I had the preconceived notion that it was going to blow.

‘Sunday School Musical’ largely gets by on the immense amount energy that seems to be emanating from every single cast member and a really nice set of toe tapping tunes that are sung with spirit and attitude. Chris Chatman is a really talented kid and seems to be a natural at doing this kind of stuff despite the lack of credits on his resume, Krystle Conner has a really big voice for a little skinny girl and Candise Lakota handles the role of the female lead with ease and charm. Again, the first time I saw Ms. Lakota was in another movie that could have been one of the worst ever, ‘The Champagne Gang’, were it not for ‘Alien Vs. Hunter’ taking the top spot, but it now appears that the crappiness in that movie wasn’t her fault at all. The entire young cast seemed to have a good time with this movie and it translated back through the tele for all of us to enjoy as well. Some of the acting was less than professional from some of the cast members but those moments were easy enough to bypass because Goldenberg keeps the movie moving and the music flowing and her dancers kicking.

The main problem with this movie is the title. I know how The Asylum operates and with their Mockbuster marketing philosophy and all, but this movie actually suffers from being lumped in as a ‘High School Musical’ knock off as it was something completely different. My boy, who is about as big a ‘High School Musical’ slappy as there is enjoyed the movie quite a bit and didn’t compare this to HSM a single time. But then if they didn’t knock it off then who’s to say I would’ve even watched it to give it this positive review. What a quandary.

As this is from The Asylum’s Faith Films division allow me to give you gentlemen a little advice on Faith based films. You might not want have your two main ‘underage’ characters necking at the end of your movie, you might want to have your female lead dress a bit more conservatively, and Candise, lovely as she is, does seem just a little too old to be in High School. And you also might want to do something in the future to keep your female dancers dresses from flying up and revealing their underwear while they’re pirouetting. Mind you this a heathenistic, profane, lecherous womanizer telling you this so take it with a grain of salt. Otherwise, Best Asylum Movie Ever. Yes, even better than ‘I am Omega’. Amazing.

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