'Debunkers, Inc.' review: The family-friendly murder mystery is perfect for old-school fans of 'Scooby-Doo'
The high-school murder mystery follows three teenage boys and a girl who aim to solve mysteries to earn money through their company 'Debunkers L.L.C.' As they gather evidence and interview suspects, it becomes clear that there is more to the mystery than they are led to believe
One of the common complaints about movies or television shows today is that most are inappropriate for children, even if they are targeted to that audience and prominently feature child actors. Cartoons and movies like 'Scooby-Doo' — which have just the right amount of mystery and horror, but not enough to give kids nightmares — don't come along often today.
It is at such a time that 'Debunkers, Inc.' is set to hit digital screens. Written by Matt Thompson and Ryan Andrews and directed by Thompson, 'Debunkers Inc.' follows three teenage boys who start a company, surprisingly called Debunkers L.L.C. (the movie takes many opportunities to let the audience know that L.L.C. stands for Limited Liability Company).
In the movie, Link, Snake, and Doc are three friends who take their codenames after their favorite video game characters and start a company. While many of their cases have been underwhelming, the movie opens with the three discussing how they can expand their reach and take on bigger cases. They lament about how, in one of their cases, they are more snitches than debunkers for having ruined the senior prank in their high school.
Link (played by Josh Pinkowski) is the de facto leader of the group and the CEO of the company. He is most concerned with how the group comes across, creating outlandish ads meant to garner more clients. Link's motivation to get more clients and therefore make more money becomes clear when we see his home life — his father has been recently fired and does nothing to get back on the job market again.
Doc (Blake Kevin Dwyer) is the Chief Investigative Officer (CIO) and your typical nerd, all the way down to the glasses, the weird hat and his nervousness around girls. Snake (Izzy Pollak) is the Vice-President of Clandestine Maneuvers and Secretary and views life like it is a video game. Doc brings in Sheik (Nicole DuBois), a Canadian foreign exchange student staying with his family, who the boys recruit as an intern in the company.
Soon, a serious mystery comes their way, Two popular girls from their high school approach them, asking the boys to solve the mystery of the death of their friend during summer school and for whom there was no funeral. Eager for the thousand-dollar payday, Debunkers L.L.C. takes on the case. The boys (and girl) get on the job, collecting evidence and taking interviews, but soon they realize there is more to the case than they were initially led to believe.
The group, right down to the name of their mystery-solving company, sharply reminds one of Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. — the only thing missing is a dog scared of its own shadow and who loves to eat. With a distinctive background score, 'Debunkers, Inc.' is like an old-school family horror/suspense movie. While some scenes are over-the-top and the movie is a tad too long, 'Debunkers, Inc.' is a good way to introduce children to the genre of classic trope-y mystery movies. The independent horror movie is not made on a high budget, but in the long run, the movie promises to have an almost cult following.
There must be one question lingering on your mind: why is the movie called 'Debunkers, Inc.' when the group of teenage detectives is called Debunkers L.L.C.? That mystery is solved at the end of the movie. Touted as 'Stranger Things' meets 'Scooby-Doo', 'Debunkers, Inc.' can be the perfect introductory watch for kids in the genre or it can be the perfect throwback watch for all the 90s kids who miss the mystery-solving Great Dane and his friends.
'Debunkers, Inc.' will release on September 3 on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, and GooglePlay.