Straight Edge Kegger: Blu-ray

Written and directed by Jason Zink, Straight Edge Kegger is a shockingly good, micro-budgeted, coming-of-age subculture genre bender. From its professional look to its script and acting, it’s one of those rare spot-on films that explode onto the underground, seemingly out of nowhere.

Straight Edge Kegger is the saga of a young man struggling with the violence and machismo of his scene. He befriends a different group of punks and ends up at a party. The party is invaded by his thuggish old friends, and all hell breaks loose.

Opening with a tribute to Abel Ferrara’s classic Driller Killer, writer-director Zink acknowledges that he is not the world’s first punk to make a feature. The first half of Straight Edge Kegger owes a lot to the 1990s. Stylistically, characters develop similarly to those in the best work by the likes of Jon Moritsugu, Gregg Araki, Sarah Jacobson, and Larry Clark. Those story tellers humanized wayward youth, treasuring the flair that iconoclastic kids intrinsically offer. This film taps into that vein adorably, as it creates odd moments of poignancy amidst what is essentially a setup for an action-packed denouement.

When the plot shifts to a violent standoff, Straight Edge Kegger becomes the picture that Green Room wanted to be. Green Room disappointed due to the métier of its director’s prior film, Blue Ruin. Without pretense, Straight Edge Kegger tells a similar tale with a way greater degree of panache.

While the warmth and humor of the early section of Straight Edge Kegger is where its strengths shine brightest, the second act also impresses. Zink’s compassion for his troubled characters is evident, and this is a project that tears down the barricade often surrounding ultra low-budget cinema. Unlike what is so often the case with micro-budgeted fare, Straight Edge Kegger always feels like a real movie.

Straight Edge Kegger is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VHS. Many supplements are present, including a commentary track, deleted scenes, trailers, a behind-the-scenes documentary, and more.

While its brilliant title and campaign suggest a clever, campy endeavor, Straight Edge Kegger is anything but schlock. It’s a sensitive, earnest, stunning entry into the hearty tradition of youth subculture films. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a new take on their old friends. –Art Ettinger (Scream Team Releasing, screamteamreleasing.com)