Directed by Dan Glaser
Written by Timothy J. Meyer
Three step brothers reunite at the childhood family cabin after the death of their father in an attempt to reconnect in Oxenfree. Initially, relationships are strained and confrontational, but through the hopeful machinations of one brother, revelations are made, bonds are mended and monsters, both metaphorical and perhaps otherwise, are slain.
Aaron—the sole biological son—painstakingly recreates their childhood fortress in the woods—the mighty Castle Buttkicker of the mystical realm of Oxenfree—and leads his brothers on a path to the past where they join forces to take on a band of imaginary pirates and embark on a hunt to bring an end to the monstrous Grumpadoo—the ruthless, child-hunting beast that filled their childhoods with fear.
Along the way, a revelation by Aaron serves as a linchpin for healing and acceptance.
The brothers are all well-drawn characters, with unique quirks, personalities, and histories, brought to life with solid performances from Steven Molony, Timothy R. Lane and Paul Vonasek, but the most noteworthy elements of the film are in its screenplay and production.
Through stylistic shifts and thoughtful production designs and photography, director Dan Glaser conjures a mystical realism that is true to the memories of anyone who engaged in such fanciful adventures in their youth. The dialogue is also spot on, as the brothers exchange a mix of witty, precocious barbs and pure adolescent insults as the engage in their imaginary battles—much credit to screenwriter Timothy J. Meyer.
Oxenfree is true, through and through—an absolute joy that captures the heart and heartache of relationships both young and old.
Artistic Value – 7 / 10
Social Value – 6 / 10
Entertainment Value – 8 / 10