Sunday, 17 July 2011


Hopscotch Films
Available now to rent or own on DVD

If you want silly, sexy and - sure - fun, then the latest by Gregg Araki, one-time enfant terrbile of American indie cinema, certainly fits the bill. With the sexual shenanigans of its main character, Smith (Thomas Dekker), and all the mysterious cult and supernatural goings-on on campus, Kaboom plays like Dante's Cove: The College Years.

When he's not secretly lusting after his blonde, straight surfer roommate, Thor (Chris Zylka), Smith is hooking up with guys at the local nude beach or hooking up with girls at frat parties. It's when on the way home from one such event that Smith encounters a distressed young woman who just happens to have been appearing in his recent weirdly vivid dreams.

Smith thinks he may have witnessed her murder (he's not sure since he was drunk and tripping at the time) but there's no evidence. Best friend Stella (Haley Bennett) doesn't offer much help but then she is preoccupied with her new girlfriend who's a bit of a witch - literally - and even more so when Stella decides to call it quits. Hell hath no fury like a wicken scorned.

More sympathetic to Smith's increasing paranoia is London (Juno Temple), whom he meets at a party and soon becomes her beck and call boy; London making Smith her personal de-stresser (no points for guessing how). They discover that Smith's impending 21st birthday and the life of his long-forgotten father have something to do with his weird dreams, the murdered woman and the appearance of animal-masked men on campus. And it may also involve the fate of the world.

Having made the mature Mysterious Skin (2004), arguably his best film, Araki seems to have reverted to his early filmmaking ways - queer, kinky and often amateurish - with Kaboom. Then again, he made Smiley Face in 2007, a stoner comedy starring Anna Faris, so it was a gradual step backwards for the 51-year-old director.

Kaboom is all very silly but fun enough if you go along with its 86-minute ride on the college-boy-goes-wild side. Forget doom and gloom, it's the end of the world and Araki's going out with a (gang) bang.

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