Matthew Johnson and Owen Williams in The Dirties.

I went to the San Diego Comic-Con this year (yes, I’m a geek), and Kevin Smith was going crazy about this movie from two young filmmakers that not only takes a different approach to the topic of high school bullying, but is also a new twist on the whole “found footage” phenomena.

Big props to actor/director Matthew Johnson and his co-star, Owen Williams, for making a film that dares to be funny on its way to a completely dark finish. Johnson and Williams play Matt and Owen, two high school students and best friends who make movies together and try to get through a day without running into the high school bullies—the Dirties.

We see Matt and Owen alternately playing around with different film genres, but their movie always takes a dark turn when the camera catches one of the Dirties assaulting them in the hallway or the cafeteria. Johnson does a capable job of steering his film between goofy territory and serious territory.

Ultimately, the movie becomes a scary, horrifying statement as the realization hits that some of these students who have committed horrible, violent acts of mass murder probably started out as good kids who were just trying to have a good time with friends. It’s a searing statement on the horrors and treacheries of bullying—and the last scene will knock you on your ass.

The film is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes.