The Dirties


The Dirties

Critics Consensus

The Dirties uses likable characters and a surprisingly twisted story to deconstruct the power of violent revenge -- and the audience's expectations when viewing it.



Reviews Counted: 36

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,118


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

When two best friends team up to film a comedy about getting revenge on bullies, the exercise takes a devastating turn when one of them begins to think of it as more than a joke. (c) Phase 4

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Critic Reviews for The Dirties

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (8)

  • It may wind up as the year's most significant horror film; it's certainly among the most original.

    Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Mike McCahill

    Top Critic
  • Matt Johnson's feisty and flip debut feature inverts the dark iconography of school shootings.

    Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A shooter story that creeps up on you with humor and personality, featuring characters so likable the thought that they could transform into killers is at first unthinkable -- which is precisely the point.

    Oct 4, 2013 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Eric Kohn

    Top Critic
  • Remarkable as much for its insights as for its audacity, "The Dirties" approaches school violence with a comic veneer that slowly shades into deep darkness.

    Oct 3, 2013 | Rating: 4/5
  • A masterful blend of black humor and queasy dread ...

    Oct 3, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • In such a cluttered cultural space, it feels so startlingly fresh, urgent, honest and real.

    Oct 3, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Dirties

Although praised by Kevin Smith and others as a must-see film, I don't see anything here that hasn't been covered off by other attempts to look at the psyches of shooters in school settings. I praise the Canadians involved in putting together a low budget well executed film but it would have been better to surprise the audience.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Well written and acted, The Dirties is unfortunately dead in the water thanks to the terrible execution - the use of found footage doesn't for one moment convince (nor play by its own rules with edits and non-diegetic sound).

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

This is a pretty timely movie considering the number of school shootings that have plagued the U.S since Columbine. Granted, this is a Canadian film, where you don't really see these things happen as frequently as it does in the U.S. The film looks at two best friends making a film for school and they've decided to make it about this 'gang' they call, you guessed it, The Dirties, that bullies both of them. They incorporate their real-life bullying into a scripted film where they get their revenge on their bullies. Of course, as Matt and Owen start to grow apart due to the fact that Owen is finding new friends and finding himself in a new scene, Matt's psyche starts to deteriorate to where he starts to plan out an actual school shooting. Things start innocuously enough, it almost starts out like a joke to where Matt might seriously talk about it, but that's all he'd do, talk about it. As Owen starts distance himself from Matt, though, that's when things become more serious and he plans out the entire attack without even telling Owen. Matt is pretty much a psychopath and you see that deterioration in his psyche, to the point where you get to see that he's actually pretty fucked up when you think about it. The story is very heavy on film references. And, at first, you think it's a cute way of Matt Johnson, the actual director of the film and not the character he portrays, to show that he grew up as a film nerd and a cute way to pander to film lovers. But it's a very important part of the story and of Matt's personality. It's a big reason for why he ended up doing. The way he plans this out, as if what he was about to do wasn't real and it was just something to do for the film, and the way he carries it out is incredibly disturbing. This is a guy that's been bullied to the point where films are his only refuge and real escape from the bullies, that he can't even tell the difference between what's real and what's fake anymore. I think that if Owen had stuck by his friend when he really needed him, you'll know the moment, this all could've been averted. After their big argument, Owen tries to call Matt, presumably to apologize, but Matt decides not to answer and carries on with his plan. The climax is pretty disturbing because of the fact of how real school shootings are, you're almost kind of dreading it. It's certainly not a pleasant thing to watch, considering how many of these shootings we've seen. Another thing about the movie was surprising was how funny it actually was. It goes to some pretty dark places but I don't think it ever really mocks or glorifies the shootings that have taken place, which is a fine line they had to travel and I think they did so in about as nicely, for lack of a better term, a manner as possible. This is a very good movie, but it's probably one that requires some patience but it's a very rewarding film that explores some very real issues such as the effect bullying has in someone that chooses to do what Matt did. So just for that, it's worth watching. It's well-written, it has an air of authenticity, and it has a strong cast. Can't really complain about this, other than the pacing was poor at times.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

The Dirties is a complex fabric of fresh insights into school violence. Written, directed, and starring Matt Johnson, the film's title character is a social outcast and an aspiring filmmaker with very little actual talent. He decides one day to up his game by planning the most sensational climax to his newest film: killing those who he calls the "dirties," which is pretty much anyone who has bullied him throughout high school. Like Gus van Sant's masterpiece Elephant, The Dirties presents a series of vague reasons that forces the viewer to reflect on what could or could not have led to the character's decision to do what he does. Sure this is a topic that has been the subject of arguably one too many films, but it is still relevant, and The Dirties is above all a character study that unravels with a dark sense of humour and realism. The high school students all feel like real people. They can't be easily classified into archetypes, which makes for an incredibly complex film. The insights into school bullying delve into territory that last year's documentary Bully seemed a little too scared to even tread. The Dirties is a strong directorial debut that might actually inspire some deep critical thinking and could certainly warrant more than one viewing.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

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