Jay Frasco's feature film debut, Dirt Boy, balances contrasting tones in a manner that should lead to a bout of head scratching for most viewers. Shot on digital video, the movie's deliberate pacing and ominous mood suggest a subtle, low-budget thriller that is calculatingly setting its audience up before potently striking. But as much as Frasco wants to deliver twists and chills, the director is just as intent on tossing in copious amounts of unexpected offbeat humor. The result is predictably uneven, but the effort is commendable.

Twentysomething Matty Matthews (Jacob Lee Hedman) is a recovering New York City junkie trying to overcome the recent death of his mother. He decides to leave the Big Apple behind for the far more peaceful environs of a small Cape Cod town, Atwater Commons, to attend a six-week seminar being given by noted criminologist Dr. Ronald Klugard (Luca Bercovici). Matty takes to the road with only a handful of possessions, including a book-on-tape called Dirt Boy, which was written by Atwater Commons' own master of mystery Atwater Bridges (Arthur J. Walsh). The book details the crimes of a serial killer known as Dirt Boy, and the author's powerful prose leads Matty to do some investigation, where he soon discovers that the supposed fiction resembles reality just a bit too closely.

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