Juan (an impressive Cesar Herrera) is a young convicted gang member sent as part of his sentence to live with a Romero family still grieving over the death of their murdered son David. Complicating things is Kate, the Romero’s “I’m-going-to-Hell-for-thinking-such-thoughts” daughter, a sadistically flirtatious little wench whose merciless teasings understandably drive Juan to distraction. Eventually, hormones and nature override Mr. Romero’s strict rules and warnings and Juan and Kate do what attractive teens are wont to do.
Up until that point, “17 & Under” plays a bit like an after school special. But when Kate takes the usual post-sex afterglow to an unexpectedly demented level and heads for the Land of Delusions, the film spirals off into eerie and truly compelling weirdness. A solid piece of work.