DVD Review - Meth Head

Lukas Haas (center) as Kyle, a young designer
in Los Angeles who becomes a meth addict
Jane Clark has directed several short films. A couple of them have employed actor John W. McLaughlin. McLaughlin was formerly addicted to crystal meth. For Clark's feature debut, she decided to write this story inspired by McLaughlin's experiences as a drug user. McLaughlin appears in this movie as a fellow drug addict named Bobby Blue, but for the most part McLaughlin watches as someone else plays him.

Lukas Haas stars as Kyle Peoples, the son of a Midwestern politician. Kyle left home to live in Los Angeles and pursue a career in interior design. He mostly engineers furniture, but he's capable of more. He has a sister that also lives in L.A., but Kyle stays with his boyfriend Julian, played by Wilson Cruz. One night, Kyle and Julian go to a fundraiser where they meet Dusty, played by Blake Berris. Dusty is a photographer but mostly works as a drug dealer.

Julian gets Kyle to take drugs with Dusty. From that point forward, Kyle starts to spend more and more time with Dusty, much to Julian's chagrin and concern. Dusty introduces Kyle to Maia, played by Necar Zadegan. His relationship with her starts to reveal a desperate and spiraling situation into which Kyle gets pulled. The question is if he can escape or if he even wants to.

This film really could be a companion piece to Keep the Lights On (2012). That movie by Ira Sachs was about a gay male couple dealing with one who was a drug addict but the movie was told from the non-drug addict's point of view. Meth Head is the reverse. It's told from the drug addict's POV. We stay with him as he becomes distant, dependent, desperate and despondent.

Haas is an interesting choice here because he has such an interesting and unique look. He's been acting ever since he was a child, appearing in such Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated films as Witness (1985) and Rambling Rose (1991). I've even liked him in such TV shows as 24 and Touch. One of my all time favorite roles of Haas though is in the high school, film noir Brick (2005).

Scene from "Meth Head" has David Arquette
appearing in call back to he and Lukas Haas in "Johns"
Yet, if this film is a companion piece to anything, it could arguably be that to one of Haas' earlier works. In Meth Head, there is a scene that almost directly calls back or references Haas' film Johns (1996), written and directed by Scott Silver. It not only calls back to Johns because of the action occurring in the scene but also because of the other actor opposite Haas. David Arquette appears in Meth Head. Both Haas and Arquette co-starred in Johns and both end up doing the same thing in both movies. For trivia's sake, Wilson Cruz also appears in both as well.

Cruz has a much bigger role this time as Haas' worried love interest. His Julian tries to help Kyle but keeps hitting a brick wall or becomes too frustrated to continue fighting. Cruz is good in all the ways that he normally is. It's Haas, however, who disappears into this character and is so radically different from characters he's recently played, even more than several degrees off his character in Johns.

Blake Berris who just finished a returning stint on Days of Our Lives is the consummate scene stealer. He draws your eye and attention anytime any part of him is in frame. One assumes Dusty to be a devil in disguise, handsome, charming and flirtatious, but by the end he really comes across as something more.

Necar Zadegan is delightful. There is depth and multi-dimension to her character. One assumes her to be merely doing all she needs to get high, but Clark fills out her story to reveal so much more. No, she's not perfect and how she got on this path is unclear, but you feel the pain of loss with her.

Candis Cayne is wonderful as Pinky, a next door neighbor that offers warmth and wisdom as well as a little sass, referring to herself in the third person. Scott Patterson as Kyle's father, Victoria Profeta as Kyle's sister, Carolyn, and James Snyder as Carolyn's husband, Pete, are all great in their limited roles.

Five Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains violence, graphic sexuality and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 48 mins.

Blake Berris (left) and Lukas Haas
in scene from "Meth Head"


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