Review: The Thinning

My husband and I signed up for YouTube Red for the month of March/April just to test it out. The first movie we wanted to see was The Thinning. It stars Lia Marie Johnson (Everything Before Us), Peyton List, Logan Paul, Calum Worthy, Matthew Glave, just to name a few. The setting is in a world where only the smartest people survive. Everyone has to take a test called the 10-241 from the first grade to the twelfth grade. Passing the test would mean that you live and failing it would mean that you would be executed. In the first grade, they have children watch this video that explains how they get ride of failing students so that the Earth doesn’t get overpopulated. It’s really cruel and it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “test anxiety.”


It’s an interesting concept and I think this would totally happen in a really messed up society. I mean, look what China did with their female babies. And don’t even get me started with the Germans. The acting could definitely be better. There’s a little awkwardness in the acting. But it’s how all these YouTube originals are like. It’s hard to come by a really talented actor on YouTube. There are those few who are good but many of the really talented ones are already doing films or TV movies. Take, for example, Ki Hong Lee. He stars in The Maze Runner as this Asian kid who doesn’t die in the first scene. I first saw him act in a couple Wong Fu Productions shorts.

There are few things in the movie I could do without, starting with the movie poster advertising the movie on YouTube Red (with a shirtless Logan Paul). I mean, come on. What does that have to do with the plot? Absolutely nothing, you say? Exactly! It makes no sense. There was a scene where you see Logan Paul (shirtless again) working out. Okay? So what’s the point of that scene again? He gets defeated in every fight he starts. Showing that scene does nothing for the actual plot. Also, Lia Marie Johnson plays a troubled student who, right before the important test, decides to blow off studying for it. Who does that? She passed 10 of the tests and she decides not to study for the eighth one? She had two tests left before she didn’t have to worry about them any more.


Let’s talk about this test. The kids are all instructed to go to this maximum security testing facility. There’s barbed wire and armed guards. The kids walk in single file and their bags are checked before they can enter. The rooms they take the test in look like lecture halls. So if the test is suppose to weed out the smartest kid, why aren’t they sitting further away from each other? Also, since when do standardized testing dictate how smart kids are? It doesn’t mean anything anymore. According to this article by Allie Bidwell, America over tests their students and have nothing to show for it.

Overall the movie wasn’t too bad. It was entertaining for the most part. It has a twist ending which I enjoyed. So if you have $10 to spare each month, subscribe to watch this movie. We might just cancel our subscription because there’s really nothing else to watch on there besides Wong Fu Productions. Stay tuned for my review on their first series, Single by 30.

Audience: PG-13
Imaginative Factor: 7
Acting: 6
Story: 7
Direction: 7
Would I recommend: Yes

*Note: Based on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being the worst and 10 being the best you could get in a category.


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