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The Chumscrubber (2005)

2:19 | Trailer
A darkly satiric story about life crumbling in the midst of a seemingly idyllic suburbia.


Arie Posin


Arie Posin (story), Zac Stanford (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Bell ... Dean
Camilla Belle ... Crystal
Justin Chatwin ... Billy
Glenn Close ... Mrs. Johnson
Kathi Copeland Kathi Copeland ... Parent #1 (as Kathy Copeland)
Rory Culkin ... Charlie Stiffle
Thomas Curtis Thomas Curtis ... Charlie Bratley
Tim DeKay ... Mr. Peck
David Ellison ... Student #1 (as David Ellsion)
William Fichtner ... Mr. Bill Stiffle
Ralph Fiennes ... Mayor Michael Ebbs
Richard Gleason ... Parent #2
Caroline Goodall ... Mrs. Parker
John Heard ... Officer Lou Bratley
Susan Hegarty Susan Hegarty ... Aide to Mayor Ebbs


The Chumscrubber starts out with Troy, a normal teenager who supplies "feel good" pills to everyone in his high school (this way he spreads happiness all around). But when his friend Dean pays him a visit, Dean discovers Troy has hanged himself in his bedroom during one of his mother's pool parties. After the death, three local teens: Billy, Lee, and Crystal, want what's left of Troy's stash of pills and they know that Dean is the only one who knows where they are. But when Dean refuses to get the pills, the three teens kidnap Dean's little brother, until they realize they've kidnapped the wrong kid. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fear. Trust. Love. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, violent content, drug material and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Newmarket Films


USA | Germany



Release Date:

5 October 2006 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Arie Posin Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$6,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,548, 7 August 2005

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Directorial debut of Arie Posin. See more »


When Billy looks up at the sky and identifies an F-17 as a Tigershark. The "Tigershark" refers to the F-20 designed and built by Northrop Corporation during the 1980s but was not adopted by any of the US military forces. With respect to the F-20, it was a single-engine jet aircraft and likely would not have left twin contrails.

There never has been an F-17. At one point, there was a YF-17, which by its designation was an experimental aircraft. Eventually, that aircraft became the F/A-18. See more »


Mayor Michael Ebbs: Terri, goshdarnit honey, you pierced his dorsal.
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movies with Terrible Titles (2015) See more »


Our House
Performed by Phantom Planet
Written by Graham Nash
Courtesy of Epic Records by arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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User Reviews

A very good movie with some great performances and castings. Strong and disconcerting plot that builds slowly to an unnerving climax.
24 November 2005 | by Rich BSee all my reviews

Instantly you see the divide between the world the parents inhabit and that of the teenagers. The adults live in the over sanitised, prescription based world, blinkered to only their problems, whereas the teenagers seem to be living in the harsh real world, striving for some of that medicinal assistance to lift themselves rather than to sanitise their surroundings. At times it seems the teenagers are the adults, while they run around carefree and behave like children.

A couple of things you notice straight into the movie are Jamie Bell and the art of casting against expected type. On the casting issue it's a surprise to see Glenn Close playing a sweet wholesome mother, and Carrie-Anne Moss playing a sultry temptress, a woman who is attracted to the strength of others. These two casting choices hit me as quite a surprise, against expected type, and superbly chosen. As for Bell, he's superbly believable and draws you into the movie with an amazing performance.

Rory Culkin is another great showing, often the performances of the actors who play baddies are overlooked, after all it's easy to play a baddie isn't it? Yet that's just not true, especially with this character. He's malevolent, controlling, but there's a streak of uncertainty and self doubt through the character, and he pulls this off perfectly.

Not all the younger actors are so great though, Lou Taylor Pucci really does play the same character from Thumbsucker, it's a very similar role. His performance in the final scenes was much better, and very disconcerting. Actually it would have been much better, and in keeping with the against type casting in this movie, to cast him against his previous role.

Camilla Belle was another strong performance and you can clearly see what she is going to become. She certainly has the potential to be a great Hollywood actress, her eyes, the underlying passion, all the features are there that will make her a Hollywood sex symbol.

The layering of the two sides of life in the Chumscrubber world is very well created. As they intertwine they pass each other with confusion, misunderstanding and resentment, but just keep on going almost unnoticed. The adults coming dangerously close to the events of the teenagers' lives, almost grasping the actuality of what is happening, and either missing the point or choosing to avoid it totally.

The perfect example of this is seeing the Mayor and his wife carry on towards their wedding day plans avoiding the fact that their son appears to be missing, and that that life in general seems to be falling apart around them. It's the ignorance of the adults caught in their self obsessed lives that's more amusing than anything, and although overplayed for the movie, it's not all that far from reality.

Comedy is sparse and quite dark and when they come they are uneasy moments. When you laugh and are then suddenly hit by the seriousness, it's funny, but am I laughing at the wrong bits? It's a strange feeling, and does add to the unease throughout, a feeling that fits well with this movie and slowly builds to the incredibly uneasy climax.

Glenn Close and Jamie Bell are excellent. Close's character begins to crack from the start, the first signs that the spectacularly insular lives of the adults is about to crumble. She plays this really well, and moves through a range of emotions with apparent ease. This is especially obvious when a scene near the end of the movie brings Close and Bell together. Close naturally smiles with tears streaming down her face, one of the saddest things to see from a human being, while Bell struggles with his emotions and delivers a heartfelt speech. I really felt for these characters at this point, and it was easy to connect with them and understand their pain.

The climax of the teenager plot line is very strong, you're right there in the awkwardness of the situation, feeling for them as circumstance and manipulation build around them to force events. I shan't give anything away, suffice to say you can feel the tension and pressure as it grows, and you're very aware of how events suddenly drop out of their hands having just gone too far to control.

However, the very end of the movie is quite contrived and annoying, and it does seem to grate for such a good movie. Yet there's not enough here to hurt the movie, not enough to make me wish I hadn't watched or to make you feel short changed or cheated. No, it's a bit poor, but it's not the true climax of the movie.

There's one other thing I didn't like, the Chumscrubber itself is based on a computer game character that some of the teenagers play through the movie, usually in the background. It's also the character that provides us with a prologue and epilogue and some voice overs on the way. Yet I couldn't make any connection, or understand any relevance for this character to be here, sure it's used in a few scenes, but just as background noise. There seemed to be no other connection than that of adding a computer game connection to the teenagers' lives. It wasn't needed, I found myself confused and distracted by it, and I really think the movie would have been better without it.

What this movie is good for, are some great castings, and the excellent performances by the actors playing the teenagers. I was very surprised at just how strong Jamie Bell really is, and my feelings for Glenn Close (as an actress) were just reinforced from watching the last season of The Shield.

This has a great plot, some great actors and performances, and is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that does have some things to say about adults and teenagers. It's not really rocket science, don't analyse them, listen to them.

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