"Groupers" is a dark, satirical revenge film. It takes the angst of the disenfranchised and the cult asthetics of "Hard Candy" to create a unique story. The film is writer / director Anderson Cowan’s feature film debut. "Groupers" stars Nicole Dambro, Peter Mayer-Klepchick, Cameron Duckett, Jesse Pudles, Brian Ioakimedes, and Terrance Wentz.
The film centers around two all-American high school jocks Brad and Dylan (Peter Mayer-Klepchick and Cameron Duckett) who are out for a night on the town when they are kidnapped, drugged. They awaken tied up face to face in an abandoned pool in the middle of nowhere by a girl named Meg. Absurdity and insanity ensue as we learn that Orin (Jesse Pudles), Meg’s overly flamboyant brother has been the target of Brad and Dylan’s homophobic bullying and that Meg is actually a grad student who plans to perform a psychological and somewhat sadistic experiment on them as part of her thesis, which poses the question, “is homosexuality a choice”.
The movie is almost as cool as the synopsis reads. Almost. The first forty minutes set the stage, going right into the film's, dark, almost underground nature. And it is a good start. The characters feel familiar and the dialogue flows naturally from the characters. The immediate situation is edgy enough to hook you in. It all is a bit of theatrics that set on the edge of what is plausible, much in the way of films like "Pecker", "The Chumscrubber" and "Hard Candy".
The cast do a great job, for the most part, giving life to these "fringe" characters. However the energy and substance begins to lack at the midway point. Dialogue starts to feel redundant and the story arc sort of stalls out. There's still enough taking place to keep your attention, with just the scope of the situation, the introduction of the bullied brother that is most likely insane, and the continued tight performance by several of the cast.
Unfortunately things hit a wall with the last act. "Groupers" introduces a twist to the movie that does more to disrupt the overall flow of the story than it does to muck up Meg's agenda. It adds a distraction to the plot that doesn't make sense and does nothing to enhance the story. Still this is a cool, fresh, generation Z film that brings light and levity to an otherwise dark subject of homophobia and bullying. Just go in knowing that it gives half of what it sets out to achieve, and enjoy the downward, comedic spiral. (3/5)