Spoilers. Look out.
The Dirties (2013) is the only film about a school shooting that I can think of. It’s certainly a sensitive subject which is only another reason we should talk about it. In the film, Matt and Owen make a movie for a school project. In the movie, they play detectives who kill the gang members at their school. For Owen, it’s a way to cope with being bullied. For Matt, it’s not real enough.
It is implied that the character Matt (not the director Matt) cannot tell the difference between his thoughts and reality. But while Matt cannot differentiate movies and reality, neither can the audience. It’s unclear if the movie we’re watching is the one being made by Matt and Owen or a documentary about them making their movie. Matt Johnson the director plays Matt Johnson the character, which only blurs things more.
The documentary style of the film makes it even better. As far as I can tell, most of the first half is filmed by a classmate named Jared. But I think most of the second half isn’t being filmed at all. The cameras (and us, the audience) are in Matt’s head because he cannot tell the difference between movies and reality.
It’s as if his delusion makes us a real audience. And the audience is deluded too when they follow a narrative. Even if they know it’s not ‘real,’ they believe the events on screen are connected in some kind of plot. And that delusion sort of makes Matt real.
You can watch The Dirties on Netflix.