The Dirties

(Canada, 2013, 84 mins, HDCAM)
CAST Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Krista Madison, Josh Boles, Brandon Wickens, Alen Delaine
PRODS Matt Johnson, Matthew Miller, Evan Morgan, Jared Raab
SCR Matt Johnson, Evan Morgan, Josh Boles (story)
CAM Jared Raab
ED Evan Morgan
MUS Jay McCarrol
Guests in attendance.


The fear of parents worldwide: just what are your kids doing in their spare time? Along with his best friend Owen (Owen Williams), Matt (maniacal director Matt Johnson) decides to take on a gang of bullies he dubs “The Dirties” in a no-budget epic action farce made for his high-school film class, a revenge fantasy à la Tarantino packed to the brim with cinematic references and surreptitiously filmed prankery. All, of course, does not go as planned (actual bullying increases) and Matt comes up with the idea of making the film again, this time as a documentary, which tests Matt and Owen’s friendship, and brings to the fore the degree to which Matt has become detached from reality.

The impressive quality of Johnson’s feature debut is that it willingly assumes a now-too-familiar, juvenile form to deal with its juvenile subject—call it the mockumentary, with action shot from a handheld camera by an unseen, yet acknowledged cameraman—but the enaction of the concept is more maturely handled than untold number of generic art films flooding the scene today. (This guy is going to be big.) Winner of multiple awards at American independent film festivals, including the main prize at this year’s Slamdance, The Dirties is a riotous comedy, no doubt about it, but it’s paced and edited in such a dazzling way that its thematic seriousness comes through, leaving a bad taste in your mouth about the dangers of untouched cinephilia, when taken to the extreme…

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