Despite its inconsistencies, “Debunkers, Inc.” finds its footing as a family friendly murder mystery and offers playful, slight undertones of horror.
In the current state of the horror genre, Debunker’s Inc. is a breath of fresh air for the family friendly arena, creating a world both silly and thrilling for its primary audience, while providing subtle elements of horror, reminiscent to the cartoons of their elders.
Debunkers, Inc., directed by Matt Johnson and co-written alongside Ryan Andrews, follows a group of high school misfits, Link (Josh Pinkowski), Dr. Mario (Blake Kevin Dwyer), and Snake (Izzy Pollack) who form Debunkers, LLC, amateur detectives looking to create a profitable business through solving cases. When they are presented a case with a money offer they could not pass up, Link, Doc, and Snake find themselves in over their head in a case they were not expecting.
Although it is clear that these characters are seeking to crack this murder mystery, there were some noticeable inconsistencies throughout the film that cause the focus to fall off track.
When viewing Debunkers, Inc. solely as a mystery film, it is easily noticed how the tone quickly becomes convoluted.
A film that is introduced to the audience as a play on noire jumps to an episode of Scooby Doo once the characters are established, transitions over to Mission Impossible as soon as their plan is executed, and then somehow manages to land on its feet, all the while being paired with a score that was rather on the fritz. The continued change in direction was a major disadvantage throughout and created a distraction from the plot.
Focusing on one solid tone for the mission would have made for a more attractive presentation and allowed the script to fall more smoothly. When analyzing the script, this was another element in Debunkers, Inc. that halted the flow of this playful murder mystery.
In the script, Link’s primary focus is to make a profitable company – a goal motivated by his father’s current unemployment status. Although this reveal of emotion is eventually used to glue the friends back together after a fallout, this subplot virtually leads nowhere and is instead left as speed bump in the narrative. Link’s character didn’t need the extra motivation to start Debunkers, LLC. The spunk of an excited, head in the clouds teenager would have been enough to carry the story and make for a more believable group of high school misfits.
Within the murder mystery, Debunkers, Inc. offers playful slight undertones of horror.
Although the film most likely runs on a low budget, the plot does not call for intense visuals and the lack of special effects acts as a charming asset to the film, reminiscent of child friendly horror programs such as Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps. I believe this to be the element that grounds the theme back to its youth.
Despite the irrelevant elements to the story and lack of direction, Debunkers, Inc. fits in nicely into the realm of family friendly content, catering to the youth with fun characters and a playful mystery while providing a hint of nostalgic fun for all.