Judas Kiss, directed by JT Tepnapa, is an American-teen-drama-sci-fi film about past failures and the chance to change the future. Oh, and it's also about the consequences of having sex with a younger version of yourself in order to finally realise what a moping, head-strong little shit you were back then... or something.

Zachary Wells is a washed-up film director and previous winner of the Keystone film festival's top directing prize, which through a quirk of fate he has been asked to judge 15 years later on. Through another quirk of fate, he finds himself judging a young man who shares his name and who has submitted the very film he won the competition for all those years ago (a film titled, you guessed it, Judas Kiss).

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After a one-night-stand with said young man, Zach discovers that the boy is in fact himself from the past and that he has been sent to judge the competition as a means of preventing his earlier self from making the same mistakes he has. These revelations are provided by a frumpy ex-teacher of Zach's and a white-bearded old man, who's prescience gives the viewer the odd feeling he might be God (or Santa).

On paper, this strange blend of sci-fi and drama has all the potential to engage and provoke, though sadly here it is used only as the backdrop to worn and tedious sub-plots of teen love triangles, saccharine heart-to-hearts and cheesy, over-earnest confrontations. Sadder still, the tacked-on nature of Judas Kiss' sci-fi element leads to it becoming a point of embarrassment, with Zach's inability to recognise himself as a kid and subsequent self-sexual liaison going completely unexamined by the film's characters.

Though competently directed and acted (bar a few dozen too many pouts), Judas Kiss feels like an aggressively extended episode of Dawson's Creek or The OC, with vague sci-fi intentions smushed into the gaps between the drama. A little more thought put into the script might have helped make the film seem a little less throw-away.

Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2011
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A filmmaker crosses paths with a younger version of himself and tries to change the future.
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