In many ways your standard made-for-TV nail-biter, Hostage High actually has a little more to offer than its sensational DVD packaging would lead you to believe. Despite the faces of a sexy young cast (Rick Schroeder and Freddie Prinze Jr. among them) and two lurid slogans ("School's Out
FOREVER!" and "Director's Uncut Version") stretched across its explosion-depicting keep case, this 1997 docudrama is surprisingly tasteful, and even tense. Schroeder stars as a troubled flunky-turned-lone-gunman who deals with his failures by shooting up his former high school and holding several students hostage, provoking a tense standoff with the law. Practically reprising his role in the the 1983 comedy Night Shift, Henry Winkler costars as a timid, teased police officer who "surprisingly" excels under pressure. Hostage High is unremarkable and entirely predictable, except for its restraint. There's a refreshing lack of excess melodrama director Michael Watkins allowing the situation and characters to dictate the familiar drama the pacing is tight, and all of the key performances are effectively low-key. Yes, even Prinze, Jr., is sort of well good. Or at least well used. It's interesting to note that when Hostage High, claiming to have been based on a true story, aired on television in March 1997, it preceded (or predicted?) the rash of real-life incidents it now sometimes chillingly evokes. Artisan's DVD presents the film in a full-frame transfer (1.33:1) with both DD 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio mixes. Includes a commentary with Winkler and producer Steve Natt. Trailer (for home video release), keep-case.