Kaboom (15)

Starring: Haley Bennett, Thomas Dekker, James Duval
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The Independent Culture

The American indie director Gregg Araki makes pretty rum films, pitched somewhere between gay-era Gus Van Sant and the fuguelike puzzles of David Lynch.

His 2005 film Mysterious Skin was a genuinely unsettling mystery about child abuse. His next one, Smiley Face (2007), didn't get a release here. Which brings us to Kaboom, a very peculiar campus comedy in which the students seem to have abandoned any pretence of intellectual endeavour for a non-stop merry-go-round of bed-hopping. Thomas Dekker plays nominal hero Smith, vague as to his sexual orientation and decidedly freaked out by his apocalyptic dreamlife. What powers does the mystery red-head wield, who are the stalkers in animal masks, and just how nigh is the end of the world? His sarky best friend Stella (Haley Bennett) reckons dreams are "just your brain taking a dump at the end of the day", but Smith's not so sure. Araki excels at a sardonic kind of cool and writes some scabrously funny dialogue, but his grasp of narrative is woeful – the story here proceeds as though it's literally being made up, moment by moment. The whole thing, as Stella remarks, "is nuttier than squirrel shit".