Gregg Araki is no stranger to themes of teenage sexuality, but this may be the first time he's set a story of sexual awakening against the backdrop of an evil cult kidnapping college students in an over-saturated near future.
Welcome to Kaboom, one of the more out-there entries in this year's Cannes selection, which follows mostly-gay student Smith (Thomas Dekker). Troubled by a recurring dream he can't shake, an impossibly hot and impossibly thick surfer roommate named Thor he's fallen in love with (Chris Zylka) and the quick-witted one-liners of his best friend Stella (Haley Bennett), he's rapidly approaching his 19th birthday with apparently little direction.
During a bad trip he hallucinates – or thinks he does – the murder of a redheaded girl by a gang of cloaked figures in animal masks. When he discovers a memory stick in his pocket, planted by the girl, he starts to investigate what happened to her. The more he searches the more it's clear it's not going to be good news...
Araki draws humour from the most unlikely places throughout. When you think you see a punch line a mile away it ends up coming from somewhere else. You're never sure you can trust what you're seeing, nor the characters themselves, and when you start to figure it all out it throws a curveball. All the more jarring when you abandon any notion that it might have a familiar ending only for it to surprise you once again.