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The Chumscrubber - Movie Review


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The Chumscrubber - Movie Review

Jamie Bell in "The Chumscrubber"

Picturehouse Films
Content Guide: Drug use, language, violence, bad parenting.

The Chumscrubber. A teenage boy surviving the apocalyptic aftermath of a nuclear war. A boy who woke up one day to find his head was no longer attached, yet he still lives. Now, his body holds his head and carries it from place to place, using it as a weapon if need be. What does this character have to do with an upcoming movie starring Jamie Bell, Ralph Fiennes, Carrie-Ann Moss, Rita Wilson, Rory Culkin, and Glenn Close? Read on.

The Story

The story takes place in an idyllic suburban setting filled with workaholic parents, disenfranchised and drugged children, and the apocalyptic character known as The Chumscrubber. The main story revolves around young Dean, played by Jamie Bell. Dean is a depressed and loner of sorts whose main goal in life seems to be to avoid being the subject of any books written by his therapist dad, scoring as many anti-depressants as he can, and trying to stay out of the path of his classmates.

Everything changes when Dean discovers his friend Troy has killed himself. Dean does…nothing. Even when a party is going on right outside the scene of the suicide.

Things heat up for Dean when a local bully hits up Dean to find Troy’s secret stash of drugs. It seems that Troy was the local drug dealer keeping the town’s adolescents high with happy pills.

The Chumscrubber Flash Game

Picturehouse Films
The bully kidnaps Dean’s brother and demands the drugs brought to him or Dean’s brother is going to meet an untimely end. Even when Dean and others try to tell of the kidnapping, it appears the adults of this community have too many things preoccupying themselves to be bothered by a mere kidnapping and Dean finds himself in the middle of trying to find a solution to the whole situation. All the while, the mysterious Chumscrubber appears in video games, comics, television, and in visions by Dean.


When I was approached to preview this movie, releasing in eight states on August 5th, I was intrigued. I went to their website, www.chumcomics.com and www.chumcscrubber.com, I found an unusual setup. On the Chumcomics site, the Chumscrubber character is touted as being in a comic that started in 1994, with TV shows and video games having been made about the character. You can even play a flash game. There is a cult following and the website goes into detail about the writer, artist, and creators and even how the film doesn’t follow the comic. All the time I was asking myself, “Is there a Chumscrubber comic?” I didn’t think there was, and figured this was a clever ploy on the marketers part to get someone like me interested in the film. And I was.

I watched the film, partly curious to see how the Chumscrubber character is portrayed in the film, partly excited to have my first DVD screener before the movie came out, and partly because of the fine cast associated with the film.

Ralph Fiennes and Rita Wilson

Picturehouse Films
As far as the movie in and of itself is concerned, it was good. It shows a hyped up view of suburban life, ala “American Beauty.” With family lives in a wreck as parents are far to concerned with their careers and dreams to even sit down and have a rational talk with their kids. And the kids themselves are so far detached from reality that their only source of solace is in the form of anti-depressant drugs. A world you and I might not live in, but one we probably have some sort of association with in one way or another.

The acting was great and well done, with quirky performances by Glenn Close and Ralph Fiennes. I say quirky because that’s what their characters were, quirky, searching, and neurotic. The rest of the cast did well and Jamie Bell showed real poise as a young teen just trying to make it in a crazy and dysfunctional family.

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