Like other coming-of-age “last hurrah” adventures including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Superbad, Oxenfree maintains a delicate atmosphere of apprehension, the lingering disquiet of friends who know that this may be the last time they have together before moving out from high school. The promise of renewal after graduation and the fear of division and growing apart sit awkward and unspoken next to each other. Oxenfree centers on the protagonist Alex, who with recently met stepbrother Jonas and longtime childhood buddy Ren journeys by ferry to the spooky Edwards Island for an overnight beach party. They are later joined by fellow high school friends Nona and Clarissa, leading to teenage gossip and indiscretions, and later to the inadvertent encounter with the island’s supernatural designs interwoven with its cryptic history. Alex is considering leaving her hometown for college, and thus the beachside party serves as a sentimental event meant to reunite old friends and communally anticipate the excitements and anxieties of great change. Coming-of-age stories are concerned with the progression of time, and characters fondly reminisce about the past in order to calcify intimate memories as they mature and move outward, strategically picking out formative events to be remembered.
Read the full column at Haywire Magazine.