With all the negative reviews on this site I had to see it for myself because I found it hard to believe that the man that gave me Kids could fail to at least make an interesting film. Watching it, I can see plenty in the plot that could have been interesting, could have been insightful and could have made for a challenging piece of thought within a sci-fi frame; after all, it could have been a cautionary tale about sex, about a sexually transmitted virus that is part of the world ending, of teenagers self-harming with no consequences. The potential was there and I did think I was open to seeing these themes and I did put in work to try and go with it and let the subtexts come through. After the "infamous" twenty minute orgy of drugs and nudity I still had this approach although there was very little in it to encourage me to keep the faith.
First off, those tuning in for sexual titillation will be disappointed as the orgy is pretty cold and lacks anything in terms of excitement. It is a bit annoying because I couldn't shake the feeling that the camera was revelling in the naked teens, drug use and other excesses. With Kids there was enough substance to cover the accusations of exploitative material but here I just didn't think there was. With the focus on excesses, the narrative was not that well developed and the whole "virus" thing didn't engage me at all. The subtexts drift in and out but the writing is not intelligent enough to bring them out; such a shame because at times you could see the parallels between the plight of the characters and the struggles of real teens (specifically in the fear of sex in Sarah and the sexual aggression of Vincent). By the end of the film I was left with a gory, nonsensical film that doesn't do anything well at all.
Of course a cast of rather hapless teenagers and twenty-somethings doesn't help because they might not have been able to work with good plotting and dialogue if it had been given to them. Keegan is a bit of a clot; Hillman overacts like he is trying to save his life; Subkoff shows that she could have done more but her material is too weak to let her prove it. Jasso is obvious but has a nice natural swagger to him that may be useful in the future for small "teen criminal" roles in other things. Limos and Grant are both pretty good looking but they cannot deliver a convincing line or even a convincing slap for all the tea in China. Clark's direction is interesting at least; at points the cinematography is nicely washed out, blending colours into frames to depict changes in emotion and several other nice touches if only he had been able to draw out value from the material the odd nice visual touch is not enough.
Overall this is a poor film but I will not be adding my voice to those that simply dismiss it as rubbish with a lazy twenty word review. It had potential and it had subtexts that could have worked but it just does nothing with them. The plot makes little or no sense as the film ends up focusing on the excesses rather than the substance of the film; although I tried to work through it I have to admit defeat and the final 20 minutes was a noisy load of heartless gore that made no sense even within its own logic. Overall a pointless film that will have a cult following for the sex, gore and "different" plot; some will see it as a stupid load of missed opportunities but the vast majority will not care what it could have done and will just give up on the exploitative and nasty mess.