Film Review: The Fallout – 6/10

‘You have to be able to sleep to have nightmares…’

Euphoria has been a pop culture sensation. Not content with capturing the zeitgeist of teenagers everywhere, Sam Levinson’s show has also spawned four genuine movie stars in the shape of Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Hunter Schafer and Jacob Elordi. The Fallout arrived less than two years after the premiere of Euphoria and shares more than a couple of strands of DNA with that show…

High schoolers Vada Cavell (Jenna Ortega) and Mia Reed (Maddie Ziegler) bond in the aftermath of a school shooting. That’s pretty much it in terms of plot. The shooting itself is visceral and affecting but the rest of the movie fails to live up to that early promise.

I mention Euphoria not only because it’s a great show but also because this film genuinely feels like a feature-length Euphoria episode at times. Writer-director Megan Parks takes her cues from Levinson’s showy direction and the use of needle drops. I’ve got a lot of time for Ortega as an actress but she struggles to convey Vada’s suffering here, particularly in the scenes she shares with Shailene Woodley’s understanding therapist. Those moments didn’t ring true for me but Ortega fares better in the scenes she shares with Ziegler.

The Fallout takes on heavy subject matter but never really threatens to do anything interesting with it. It’s not a bad film but compared with the visceral power of Elephant, another film that deals with a school shooting, it is left wanting. A decent film but one that has the whiff of missed opportunity about it.