Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Whether Greg Araki's latest is the bomb or deserves to bomb will depend entirely on the approach you take to it. Squarely aimed at a student demographic, the entire affair plays out like an episode of Scooby Doo on acid with the added fuel of frequent sex. This hyperactive trip of a film is more of a fairground ride than a narrative but its kinetic playfulness is, at least in the early stages, a considerable amount of fun.

The ethereally good looking Thomas Dekker (soon to be seen proving he has serious acting chops in Angels Crest) plays bisexual student Smith, who finds himself wrapped up in the mystery surrounding a woman (Nicole LaLiberte) whom he believes he has seen being murdered - unless it was a hallucination as a result of a bad drugs trip, of course.

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As if that isn't bad enough, there is a host of blokes in animal masks and a bizarre underground cult that may or may not be linked to his past. Smith's not one to let a spot of impending doom get in the way of a good shag, though, so between running about like an escapee from Buffy, he finds time to fit in a considerable amount of extracuricular horizontal activity with London (Juno Temple, who is far and away the best thing in the film).

Araki, clearly fearful of being described as 'staid', throws in a subplot concerning Smith's best pal - and "vag-etarian" - Stella (Hayley Bennett), who is trying to extract herself from her complete witch of a girlfriend. Easier said than done given that the witch in question has the supernatural powers that go with the territory.

Araki turns the dialogue to daring, the colour palette up to stun and the editing to attention deficit setting and just about gets away with it through sheer weight of enthusiasm. But as the plot elements begin to stack up into an unwieldy pile of irony, there is no easy way to wrap things up and the route that Araki chooses feels more like a betrayal than narrative nous. Still, even if the come down sucks, the trip is good fun.

Reviewed on: 09 Jun 2011
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Sexual awakening and conspiracy in southern California.
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Director: Gregg Araki

Writer: Gregg Araki

Starring: Thomas Dekker, Juno Temple, Haley Bennett, Chris Zylka, Roxane Mesquida. Nicole LaLiberte

Year: 2010

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, France

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