Billed as a “heterosexual movie” by gay writer and director Gregg Araki (The Living End), Doom goes so far beyond sex that who’s screwing who is hardly an issue. When the sweet Keanu Reeves-faced Jordan (James Duval) and his meth-head babe, Amy (Rose McGowan), pick up trouble man Xavier (Johnathan Schaech) on a Los Angeles road, carnage ensues. The teen trio also falls into three-way love in a fervent go-fuck-yourself way.
With its MTV gloss, kinky cameos (Perry Farrell, Heidi Fleiss) and ardently alternative music (Nine Inch Nails, Jesus and Mary Chain), Doom sounds show-offy hip and nihilistic. Hang on. Araki sees these natural-born aliens from the inside. It’s a savagely funny ride fueled by Araki’s insight and blunt compassion.
As the film’s cartoon violence cuts wrenchingly closer to home, the riveting actors hold the emotional line. McGowan and Duval are touchingly damaged goods. And the dangerously seductive Schaech is a star in the making. It’s hard to say how his ladylike co-stars in How to Make an American Quilt will react to Xavier, who jerks off watching Jordan and Amy hump in a tub and then licks his own semen. Like the generation it chronicles, Doom offers no apologies. It’s unsafe, unnerving and primed to explode.