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Semester 2: a flop in the making

Thomas Sydney St John reviews the Uni’s latest PR stunt

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Last week, Honi’s film writers and the general public alike were treated to the promo trailer for Semester 2, the University’s follow-up to its stylistically-ambitious but plotline-devoid Semester 1, which achieved cult status as a failed attempt at sociopathic horror. Here’s what we know about the upcoming film.

Dr Michael Spence, off the back of ferocious criticism of his directorial debut, has pulled no punches with its sequel. The set seems to be some kind of sick parody of the University of Sydney’s Camperdown campus – bereft of its depressing hordes of soulless students. The result is slightly out of step with reality, but wholly consistent with Spence’s twisted arthouse brand. Sceptics have questioned the use of student fees to produce a blockbuster. As a cinebuff, I am compelled to throw shade on such proletarian musings – what would you rather USyd spend the money on? Lecturers’ salaries? Funding the arts? Knocking down Carslaw? Yeah, nice try.

Casting appears likely to be an ongoing issue, with Semester 2 recycling the same, budget, ragtag horde of thespians ostensibly mustered from the reject pool of the Education and Social Work Revue. They include: Oakley-wearing, golf buggy-driving men in high-vis vests (a George R.R. Martin cameo?); a barista who was clearly unaware she was being filmed; the stony eyes of Gilgamesh; and the librarian who shushes way, way, too sensually for your correspondent’s comfort.

As of yet, it is unclear whether the film’s lead roles will be played by actual celebrities, or whether the majority of the trailer’s actors stipulated in their contracts that their faces were at no point to be shown on screen, for the sake of both their career prospects and social wellbeing. A bit of mystery goes a long way these days.

The film is apparently rated “A for Academic”, but truth be told, it really straddles the line between that and “L for Lameass”. The film’s iMovie transitions are a cheeky fedora-tilt to amateur filmmakers everywhere.

Semester 1’s twist, the shock murder of audience favourite “Sydney College of the Arts”, wasn’t featured in the trailer for Semester 2, but emotional scenes are assured as the film’s protagonists deal with the fallout.

Oh, and think you were getting out of the cinema ibis-free? Nope. The trailer included a few close-ups of everyone’s least favourite soul-devouring beaky freak, in what appears to be an homage to Hitchcock’s The Birds. Semester 2 looks to be the whole package. If the racial diversity of the trailer is any reflection of the actual film, it’ll be a shoe-in for an Oscar.