Matt and Owen are two high school students making a movie about shooting the bullies that torment them daily. They finish their movie, show it to their film teacher, and discover they must completely rework it in order for it to be appropriate for class. While Owen loses interest in making the film and instead tries to woo the girl he likes, Matt becomes more and more obsessed with the idea of doing the movie, complete with a shooting scene, for real.
The entire film, with the exception of the last line, is improvised and was shot documentary-style with a tiny crew in real high schools.
- Adults Are Useless: At the beginning of the film, real-life students and teachers are briefly interviewed about bullying. One of the students says the adults don't do a thing, and even when one tried to intervene once, they got punched.
- Attention Whore: Matt is constantly, constantly, doing things for the camera.
- Becoming the Mask: Reconstructed. While Matt certainly becomes the mask by the end of the film the question is exactly when this turns from being a performance to being reality. Was he always serious about the shooting? If he and Owen had stayed as close as in the beginning and/or Owen hadn't been successful with Chrissy, would it have all remained as theory? Is he actually aware that he's serious prior to losing his relationship with Owen?
- Beware the Silly Ones: Matt is always trying to be funny, which he does more desperately as the film goes on. Even when he's setting up the GoPros to capture the shooting, he's singing to himself.
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality:
- As Matt's plan to get revenge on the Dirties becomes more important to him, he loses his grasp on reality. Owen gets very upset with him for this."You're acting! You're always acting! Always you're conscious of yourself. I don't know what's real with you and what's not real with you."
- This is how Matt's mom defines "crazy" when he asks her if she thinks he's nuts.
- As Matt's plan to get revenge on the Dirties becomes more important to him, he loses his grasp on reality. Owen gets very upset with him for this.
- Creepy Crossdresser: Matt dresses up as one for the movie, apparently just because they can't find a real girl to do it. He watches it repeatedly, though, implying that it hits a lot deeper for him than that.
- Depraved Homosexual: Heavily implied to be part of Matt's deal, although he never talks about it directly. He's extremely jealous of Owen's burgeoning relationship with Chrissy, never shows any interest in girls at school, and only really goes off at the deep end when his and Owen's friendship gets torpedoed by his escalating violence, bitterness, and jealousy.
- Dissonant Serenity: After Matt shoots and kills the bullies, he goes looking for Owen, along the way assuring terrified classmates that he's only there for the bad guys. The only thing he seems bothered by is the fact that he can't find Owen right away.
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Downplayed but still present with Matt. While he isn't as effeminate as other examples, he becomes obsessed with the video of himself dressed up as a woman, loudly and repeatedly mocks Owen for showing interest in girls, either isn't gay or refuses to admit it to himself, and mocks Chrissy for being "stupid" to Owen.
- Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the story is a black comedy about a pair of kids dealing with bullying. About halfway through, it becomes increasingly obvious that it is about a possible sociopath plotting a mass shooting.
- The Movie Buff: Try to find a scene in this movie where Matt isn't making some reference to another film. His walls are covered with movie posters, too.
- Narcissist: Matt begins the movie by quoting famous films and TV shows, but as it goes on, he begins to quote himself.
- No Fourth Wall: Matt talks directly to one of the cameramen at several points."You're going to need to put these in yourself."
- The Sociopath: Matt, who lampshades this by literally reading the definition of one to Owen and saying, "Tell me if this sounds like anybody."
- TV Teen: Totally averted. They shot the film in real high schools, so besides the lead actors, the students are all actually in high school. Plus, one of the aims of the movie was to portray teens in a realistic, non-Hollywood way.
- William Telling: Matt tries to get Owen to shoot a bullet right past his head.