Don’t let the title fool you — “S#!%house” is more more than meets the eye. Writer/director/actor Cooper Raiff (in his feature directorial debut) stars as Alex, a college freshman who is having a hard time adjusting to life on his own in college. College can be tricky to navigate and oftentimes hard to find your place in the beginning — and Alex is really struggling being miles away from home and the comfort of family AND he has a shitty roommate to boot. But that all changes one night when he steps out of his shell and attends a party at a legendary fraternity house — the Shithouse.
At said party, Alex meets sophomore student (who happens to also be his RA) Maggie (Dylan Gelula) and their connection is immediate and “life-changing” for Alex. After an awkward next morning, Alex desperately tries to cling to the social strides he previously made and the bond he formed with Maggie. But Maggie isn’t on the same page. After one amazing and fateful night, Alex begins to spiral out as he goes on an emotional rollercoaster to find himself and hopefully find love.
Although “S#!%house” starts a little scattered — jumping between point of views — the film is much more than just your typical college humor and clichés. Raiff does a great job of diving beneath the surface of a superficial college storyline to shine a spotlight on the nuances of college life, friendship and romance. The film tenderly depicts the struggle of making friends while being in a new environment — it really shows the vulnerability one has to contend with during this phase of life as a young adult out facing the world on their own.
The film is an introspective character study of two young adults raised by parents on opposite ends of the parental spectrum coming into their own and dealing with their emotional baggage. It’s not your typical college/frat house film — although there are some frat house party shenanigans — this film is heartfelt, tender and relatable and comes full-circle with a young man coming into his own, finding himself and dealing with his attachment issues. The title sets you up for an all-night kegger with “Animal House” type crazy while the film’s deadpan funny mixed with the natural chemistry between the two leads and the heartfelt underlying story reminds you that college is much more than just all-nighters and one-nighters. “S#!%house” is an indie gem well worth the watch.
“S#!%house” is currently available to rent on Amazon Prime.