Could you imagine if a school decided to make bullying a requirement in the age of social media? I mean, seriously?! It would be a whole hashtag movement and protest. Well, in the 2003 film, Evil, this is what happens!

A teenage boy, Erik, is expelled from his school, so he ends up going to a boarding school that promotes bullying. The basis of this requirement is to maintain discipline within the school, and the seniors of the school are the ones who are doing the bullying.

Now, theoretically, having a bully being bullied is a great way to show someone how it feels to be on the other side of the cruel actions— but it’s ultimately just creating a bad cycle of harsh treatment amongst peers. How can one learn to respect one another if bullying is a social discipline structure within the school?— That’s merely pushing social hierarchies into the mindset of adolescents early on.

The concept in this film makes me think of Goffman’s “total institution” structure, which is “first, all aspects of life are conducted in the same place and under the same single authority. Second, each phase of the member’s day activity will be carried out in the immediate company of a large batch of others, all of whom are treated alike and required to do the activity leading at a prearranged time into the next, the whole circle of activities being imposed from above through a system of explicit formal rulings and a body of officials” (Goffman, 1957). But instead of the authority or school officials being the guiding individuals, it’s the senior class who are the guiding individuals.

From a learning aspect, this film shows how bullying is not emotionally, physically or mentally suitable for anyone because it causes a form trauma— you see this through Erik’s efforts to be left alone from the senior class as he goes through a flux of emotions.

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