Drafthouse is great at finding those odd little films and trying to give them a bigger audience, and I Declare War, from directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson looks like it fits the bill. The audience award winner from last year’s Fantastic Fest, it looks like they took the Calvin and Hobbes model of cross-cutting between the real the and the imagined and applied it to a kids’ game of capture the flag.
Armed with nothing more than twigs, their imaginations and a simple set of rules, a group of 12-year-olds engaged in a lively game of Capture the Flag in the neighborhood woods start dangerously blurring the lines between make-believe and reality. Rocks = Grenades. Trees = Control towers. Sticks = Submachine guns. The youthful innocence of the game gradually takes on a different tone as the quest for victory pushes the boundaries of friendship. The would-be warriors get a searing glimpse of humanity’s dark side as their combat scenario takes them beyond the rules of the game and into an adventure where fantasy combat clashes with the real world.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have a vision for a movie, and then have to rely on a bunch of little wiener kids to make it a reality, so I applaud these guys’ work ethic.
I hear the game took an even darker turn when one of the kids cut out another’s still-beating heart and ate it before declaring Sharia law. At least, that’s what happened in the fantasy world. In the real-life version, he just gave the kid a really bad titty twister and kicked out the girls.
Just to fully lay my redneck cards on the table, I remember when my friends at this age would play this game with actual shotguns and shells with the pellets removed, so it just shot the plastic wad. I would NOT suggest that.
I Declare War opens on VOD and iTunes July 26th and in select theaters August 30th.