Thomas Dekker stars as Smith, a permanently horny 18 year-old college freshman who hangs out with his sardonic lesbian best friend Stella (Hayley Bennett), lusts after his straight roommate Thor (Chris Zylka) and gets it on with free-spirit London (Juno Temple). But one fateful night, Smith believes he's witnessed a murder whilst tripping on some hallucinogenic cookies and gets drawn deep into a mystery that will not only change his life forever, but the destiny of the entire world.
Director Gregg Araki returns with another provocative film involving teens (the recent ones being ‘Mysterious Skin’ and ‘Smiley Face’) and it’s titled ‘Kaboom’. Described as a sex-comedy-sci-fi-thriller, ‘Kaboom’ is about Smith (Thomas Dekker from TV’s ‘Sarah Connor Chronicles’), a promiscuous bisexual student of cinema studies in an unknown Southern California college. He is infatuated with his handsome surfer-dude roommate Thor (Chris Zylka) but his advances are shut down. Smith’s lesbian best friend Stella (Haley Bennet) is smart and sexy with a new girlfriend, Lorelei (Roxanne Mesquida), who may be an actual witch.
Smith’s college life is rife with parties, sex, drugs, and young people high jinks, but when he witnesses the murder of a junkie by people in animal masks, his life takes a U-turn. As he investigates the case, the people around him are saying the end of the world is near and indeed Stella’s girlfriend has supernatural powers, and he is reunited with his former sex-buddy London (Juno Temple). Are Smith’s experiences really happening? Or is it all in his sexified-drug-addled-twisted head?
‘Kaboom’ is the most mature of all of Gregg Araki’s cinematic efforts, so far. It has a flowing plot presented with bouts of neuroses and candy color sequences. But having a penchant for shock and make-you-squirm imagery and topics, Araki will not keep things still. Of course it just won’t be a young man’s self-discovery; Araki has to throw in the apocalypse and the paranormal to bombast you even more. He’s not into the audience getting it. It seems he’s more geared towards you blurting: ‘What just happened?!’
For all the confusion and eye candy in ‘Kaboom’, it has a roster of fine young actors willing to provide freshness and flair. Thomas Dekker is an interesting Smith while Juno Temple is an enigmatic pixie. It’s quite off-putting to hear them spout highfalutin words considering they mostly party in the movie rather than sit still and read, but maybe that’s the aspiration-al aspect of the film – young people with old souls. ‘Kaboom’ may seem like ‘Skins’ episodes crammed in one almost 90-minute movie – but more unsettling.