Teenage Caveman

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • Horror

Larry Clark's revisionist take on 1958's TEENAGE CAVEMAN, part of a series of made-for-cable rethinkings of cult horror titles, is an eye opener. The time: Somewhere in the post-apocalyptic future. The place: A blasted, desert-scrub landscape, probably California. Something terrible has happened to the weather, and the lethal storms sporadically rake the...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Larry Clark's revisionist take on 1958's TEENAGE CAVEMAN, part of a series of made-for-cable rethinkings of cult horror titles, is an eye opener. The time: Somewhere in the post-apocalyptic future. The place: A blasted, desert-scrub landscape, probably California. Something terrible has happened to the weather, and the lethal storms sporadically rake the land where a small band of ragtag human survivors live huddled in caves and scratch out a day-to-day existence hunting and gathering. David (Andrew Keegan) is the son of his tribe's religious leader (Paul Hipp), who preaches a hellfire-laden credo of chastity and submission to God, hypocritically making an exception for himself when he wants to hit on David's virginal girlfriend, Sarah (Tara Subkoff). Andrew is fascinated by the past, learning everything he can from old books; his father denounces him for being interested in sinful things. Andrew accidentally kills his father in defense of Sarah's honor, so he and his alienated friends Hunter (Jeffrey Pritz), Heather (Hayley Keenan), Vincent (Stephen Jasso) and Elizabeth (Crystal Grant) strike out in search of a better life. But they're caught in the open by a sudden storm and black out...when they awake, they're dressed in sexy underwear and sprawled around some anonymous living room. They're now the guests of an attractive, flirtatious couple, Neil (Richard Hillman) and Judith (Tiffany Limos), inexplicable survivors of the pre-apocalypse world. They live in a solar-powered bunker stocked with wonders, and seduce the naive teens — all but David and Sarah — with their cool gadgets, fancy clothes, freewheeling sexuality and apparently endless supply of drugs and alcohol. But all this luxury comes at a price: After having sex with Neil, Elizabeth explodes in a shower of guts, a fact that Judith and Neil conceal from the others. It's clear to David and Sarah that there's more to their hosts than meets the eye, but what? You have to give Larry Clark that he's true to himself, specifically to his voyeuristic fascination with young people awash in sex, dope and liquor, and there's no denying that TEENAGE CAVEMAN is compulsively watchable. It's also more than a little sleazy, albeit in a surprisingly entertaining way — the upfront fantasy element makes the film feel less overtly exploitative than the more superficially serious KIDS (1995) or BULLY (2001). Hillman's turn as Neil is so overwrought it's hypnotic, Limos is just dreadful, and the teenagers are, overall, surprisingly affecting in their underdressed roles. Ignore the lame monster featured on the box art and focus on how cleverly Clark gets his cast into hot pants and fishnets.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Review: Larry Clark's revisionist take on 1958's TEENAGE CAVEMAN, part of a series of made-for-cable rethinkings of cult horror titles, is an eye opener. The time: Somewhere in the post-apocalyptic future. The place: A blasted, desert-scrub landscape, probably Cal… (more)

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