Having recently reviewed director Joe Grisaffi’s (BLOODSUCKER’S PLANET) CONJOINED I was curious to see what he’d do with a more realistic plot. LARS THE EMO KID is set in the real world, or as real as high school gets. Working from a script by Paxton Gilmore who also plays Lars he’s created a film that is by turns brooding, depressing and funny. But it always feels honest and sincere.
Lars is not having a good time of it. His parents have split up very bitterly and he’s caught in the middle, the one person he could go to for support has just killed themselves, and he’s become the preferred target of the school bully. The joys of adolescence. However, there’s hope. Lars is befriended by a small group of outcasts and begins to rediscover the joys of life. But will his new friends be what he needs, or just more problems to add to his list?
Based on a character Gilmore created for a series of YouTube videos, Lars would probably be a “normal” kid if it wasn’t for everything life has just dumped on him. And most of us can relate to that, having gone through shitty times in our youth. This is the real strength of the film, unlike so many teen films it manages to be grounded and believable. LARS THE EMO KID threads its way between overly gloomy and depressing and being falsely optimistic and sentimental.
Of course, a film like this relies on the cast to sell the script. Gilmore is up to the task as Lars. Those around him Leonard (Tyler Tackett), Donnie (David Simpson), Gina (Alyssia Dujmovich), and Emily (Rebecca Bertot) are also very convincing. Their performances give the film its core.