Chemical Burn // 2010 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jon Mercer (Retired) // May 13th, 2011
The party's over when you're dead!
It's Friday, the weekend is here and a motley ensemble of twenty-something community college students are so unfathomably hard up to party that they'd accept an invitation from Old Scratch himself. Fortunately for them that's not in the effects budget, so they'll have to suffice by getting down at spooky Goth girl April (Sara Cole)'s pad. Her parents are gone for the weekend and she herself is such a space case that her douche bag classmates figure they can rock out even harder. That is until the festivities develop a body count. Is it an act of vengeance from a tormented outcast, or are there more nefarious forces at work?
Hoo boy. Where does one even begin? Horror movies have for the most part always been the domain of the lower budget, but half the fun for me was watching creative filmmakers dance around these fiscal pinions to deliver the splatter and scares. With that being said, horror fans will not be seeing anything on the skill or creativity level of a John Carpenter, a Sam Raimi or even a Tobe Hooper in Almost Invisible; a movie crafted with such sloppiness and unmitigated ineptitude that it borders on the offensive. I knew I was in for a real treat from the moment the opening credits began to roll, as they were comprised entirely of a female cast member scrawling down the names of the involved parties while the camera cycles through filters and the frame rate jumps around in what I assume is an attempt at overcranking. Within minutes it becomes apparent that while the makers of Almost Invisible have certainly seen movies and music videos before, they have no idea how to film either of the two. The handheld camerawork is filled with awkward zooms and poorly framed shots (seriously, there are entire scenes that look like they were filmed wherever the cameraman could stand without being in the way), and the special effects are below the bottom of the barrel fare, basically whatever could be mustered by Windows Movie Maker.
Equally incomprehensible is the storyline. At the sixty minute mark I still couldn't figure out which of the oversexed cardboard cutouts the main character was supposed to be. I couldn't tell you the basic gist of what was going on, I couldn't even tell you what the characters' names were (outside of creepy April, only because everyone else spends so much time talking trash about April and more specifically how creepy she is). For all the botched music video cuts and jumping from room to room going on, little actually happens besides the female cast members stripping out of their tops at the drop of a hat. Writing credits go to the director David Allingham, but from the end results I can't even be sure whether or not an actual script was even used. Not that it would matter, as Almost Invisible is acted on so poor a level that it defiles the rest of this zero-budget affair. The ordeal seizes to a halt after an hour and changes with a campfire ghost story ending so hackneyed it feels one step removed from actually having someone jump in front of the camera and scream "BOO!" After suffering through the entirety of Almost Invisible however, perhaps it would be more fitting for them to scream "BARF!"
The disc provided by Chemical Burn Entertainment was a screener, though with the love and attention paid to the movie's other aspects, I'd say this would be indicative of the retail product. The picture is as soft as brie; infested with noise, artifacting and just about every other side effect of poor image compression imaginable. I guess I should be at the very least grateful that the picture was anamorphic. The audio mix is horribly flat, and the volume levels jump around just as badly as the film itself. The soundtrack is comprised entirely of generic indie rock that is also credited to director David Allingham. There were no extras to be found, outside of a barely animated menu which looked like the sort found on your uncle's home movies.
I'd like to scream and sputter and call Almost Invisible the worst movie I've ever seen, but that would be giving it entirely too much credit. This isn't even on the level of educational videos or amateur pornography. I can't think of a single aspect of this film that wasn't grievously botched. It's like watching a snuff film, only the person being offed is the viewer.
There's nothing to see here folks. GUILTY!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Chemical Burn
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated