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Year: 2010
Director: Gregg Araki
Writer: Gregg Araki
IMDB: link
Amazon: Link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7 out of 10

I'm still not sure what to make of The Doom Generation, a movie that etched itself into my brain one highschool summer but ever since then, I’ve always thought of Araki as a bit of a maverick, a director that delivers sometimes strange, sometimes brutally honest and occasionally hilarious irony that speaks to something more profound. I'm not certain that Kaboom is trying to get at anything more but darn it if it isn't an entertaining 80 minutes of filmmaking.

Kaboom is an "end of the world" drama as imagined by an 18 year old oversexed teen. Thomas Dekker stars as Smith, a, go figure, 18 year-old-old oversexed teen in his first week of college. He's not gay but he's not straight either and when he's not pining after his straight surfer roommante, he spends his time playing wingman to his best friend Stella (Haley Bennett). Except this week. Since moving into dorm life, Smith has been plagued by the same strange dream and when he begins meeting people that appear in his dream, he starts to think he's going crazy. Or that someone is trying to kill him. Or something.


It's a strange little tale, made all the stranger by the fact that everyone involved plays their roles with absolute sincerity as if the wrath really was on its way yet, this goes completely against the look and feel of the project. Araki shoots this like a cheap made-for-tv movie: the lighting is a bit too harsh, the sets plain and minimal, there aren't any unnecessary extras (Smith and Stella are in college but you'd never guess there are other students), the music feels out of synch with the on-screen action and the transitions are the sort of thing I could work up on iMovie complete with cheesy sound effects. Not to mention the cheesy special effects...

Kaboom quickly sets itself up as a cheap sex comedy with a supernatural angle, think "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with lots of sex, and then just revels in the sexual antics until you forget there's anything else at play. When the supernatural angle takes over in the film's closing 20 minutes, it's not clear where things are going – and then Araki lays it all out like a badly written thriller where the central characters are given the hilariously overcooked play-by-play in pan faced seriousness. Kaboom should be a minor disaster with its laughable plot and the few laughs that come, more often than not, at the fact that whatever is going on is just so badly conceived but darn it if Araki doesn't somehow make it work.

Part of it is the acting which occasionally comes across as if the characters, particularly Dekker in the role of Smith, are being fed their lines by someone just off camera, but between that, Stella's truly funny moments (she has some fantastic zingers), and the fact that you'll spend most of the film's running time wondering where on earth Kaboom is heading while enjoying it from scene to scene, it all manages to come together into a package that is strangely goofy and entertaining.

I wouldn't qualify it as a good movie but there is a certain unexpected charm to Kaboom. It's almost like a train wreck but more enjoyable to watch. I don't buy that there is some metaphor for sexuality bringing the end of the world, I certainly couldn't find anything meaningful in Araki's movie, but it's an enjoyable little adventure through weirdness with a few laughs here and there. I wouldn't put it in the same ballpark as Mysterious Skin or Smiley Face but it fits nicely into Araki's pantheon.

Kaboom is available on DVD and Blu-ray today.

DVD Extras: None.

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John (8 years ago) Reply

Gregg Araki is a genius.
I adore his movies, when Doom generation was premiered, I timed 4 premieres in different cinemas, drove like crazy to make all four, was beyond awesome.
then went for 2 more day after, it was is good.
Made it to my top fav movies, and the compeiton is huge there.
Nowhere was another of my favorites.
Buying this for the collection.

Your review was honest, many thanks, good read.


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