From the mind of visionary director Gregg Araki ("Mysterious Skin," "The Doom Generation") comes this hot comedy about the secrets that lie beneath an idyllic seaside town. Heading the cast of gorgeous guys and girls is Thomas Dekker ("A Nightmare on Elm Street") as Smith, an 18-year-old living the life of a college freshman, lusting after his straight roommate (Chris Zylka), hanging out with his lesbian bestie (Haley Bennett), and trying to decide -- if he can -- whether he digs boys or girls. Teen angst soon gives way to more sinister concerns when Smith finds out that his small Southern California town is also home to a killer cult.
Gregg Araki's Kaboom
represents a return to familiar territory, which will come as good news for fans of his teen apocalypse trilogy, which began with The Doom Generation
. He introduces his latest lead, bisexual film student Smith (The Sarah Connor Chronicles
' Thomas Dekker, likably low-key), as he dreams about a tryst with his surfer roommate, Thor (Chris Zylka, believably stupid). The apocalypse enters the scenario via the Messiah (James Duval), Smith's RA, who claims that the end of the world is nigh, after which the Southern California kid runs into people from his dreams, like Lorelei (Roxane Mesquida), a lesbian witch obsessed with his best friend, Stella (Haley Bennett). In his waking life, Smith has a fling with London (Juno Temple), a feisty Brit who joins him and Stella in a quest for answers. Like Araki's Smiley Face
, the characters inhabit a stylized realm in which they experience real feelings, but talk as if they were starring in a paranormal teen romance with all the naked bodies and blue language those films tend to leave out. Time will tell if Araki will ever make a movie as gritty as Mysterious Skin
again, but it's hard not to admire the way he brings all the disparate story strands together at the end with a take-down of doomsday cults, homophobes, and sci-fi twaddle about Chosen Sons. Extra features include deleted scenes and uninhibited commentary from Araki and Dekker. --Kathleen C. Fennessy