What we become witness to instead is a fascinating and eerie portrait of the nature of high school alienation itself - the savagery, the cruelty, the relentless anxiety and ennui, the longing for escape. We learn from the outset that a strange plague has descended upon the area’s teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested in any number of ways - from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) - but once you’ve got it, that’s it. As we inhabit the heads of several key characters - some kids who have it, some who don’t, some who are about to get it - what unfolds isn’t the expected battle to fight the plague, or bring heightened awareness to it , or even to treat it. There’s no turning back. The setting: suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s.