I watched this wholly manufactured piece of Hollywood fantasy because of Dylan O’Brien. I’ve enjoyed his character work on the otherwise mostly bad Teen Wolf, particularly for his physical expressiveness and comic timing. His talents are wasted here as those attributes are nowhere in evidence. Instead he’s asked to play just another smart weakling who unites the underdogs. He was better in The First Time, a mildly interesting and at least non-condescending teen dramedy.

I’m guessing this is another young-adult fiction adaptation as it reeks of frying grease — in other words, FRANCHISE, and it’s every bit as incoherent, calculated and dumb as I’ve come to expect from those movies. O’Brien and an attractive multi-racial cast make it watchable, but the visuals are otherwise as derivative as the conflict is predictable.

The oddest thing to my eyes about the film’s outdoor milieu — all-male aside from the inexplicable addition of a confused and confusing young woman about three-quarters of the way through — is the absence of any homoeroticism whatsoever, despite the obvious references to Peter Pan, and about a dozen other sublimated echoes since. I could give you a list. But even The Goonies had a soon-to-be hunky Josh Brolin. It’s too much to expect from the genre to honestly represent sexual tension. All-boys boarding schools? Hello?

I mean, when was the last time you saw a movie with cute teen boys and not a single one of them ever takes his shirt off? Would any such boys exist in the real world? Instead, these castaways have sweat for years in the same clothes they arrived in and apparently never washed. Weird, but emblematic of the absurd chastity in most of the genre. A little old-fashioned subtextual desire would have made this thing a little less dry. The promotional stills, featured above, are sexier than the movie.

Yes, I’m being provocative but at least with the first couple seasons of Teen Wolf there were nice things to look at.