TV Tyrant: “River’s Edge” on IFC

River’s Edge
IFC Channel
Wednesday, Jan. 9 @ 11 pm

What we have here is a prime example of a 1980s movie sub-genre that I heartily enjoy: latchkey teens navigating a suburban moral vacuum on the West Coast. You know the type: at high school, the lockers are in the open air; parents are not around or clueless and probably divorced; the protagonist is a brooding male outsider-ish type. Examples, just off the top of my head, include “Lost Boys,” “Karate Kid,” “Pump Up the Volume” — hell, even “E.T.” for the most part. Contrast these with the midwestern films of John Hughes, which are far far less dark.

To get back on track here, rest assured that “River’s Edge” is plenty dark. The plot-propelling murder — committed by a boy and against his girlfriend — happens right at the outset and is presented in a most unsettlingly cold and alienated manner. We then see how a group of high school friends deals with the situation.

The cast is fantastic: Crispin Glover, in his best non-McFly role, along with a well-deployed Keanu Reeves and a crazy-man Dennis Hopper performance that has more or less continued uninterrupted to this very day. Checking IMDb right now, I see that director Tim Hunter later shot episodes of “Twin Peaks” and last summer’s surpassingly excellent “Mad Men” drama on AMC. Which I applaud.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen “River’s Edge,” I say summon it forth with your DVR.

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