I really like to champion underground film making, and there aren't many labels that embrace the rogue film maker like Chemical Burn Entertainment. Having released the sublimely effective "The Defiled" (a film that any lover of true indie cinema should seek out immediately), I have discovered that the company's other releases are a decidedly mixed bag. "Almost Invisible," an extremely low budget effort filmed on video, had the potential to be a solid genre entry into the terrorized teen category (okay, they're probably in their twenties, but that doesn't sound as good)--however, the lack of a comprehensible plot is the film's complete undoing. It's as if an outline of the film were developed, but the screenplay was an afterthought to everything else in this endeavor. And when the story seems to have nowhere to go, the camera crew goes gonzo on weird angles, the editors cut randomly, and the effects wizards throw every devise on their computer at the screen images. The film's look is so haphazard, it really begins to be headache inducing--but all these technical decisions don't support the story, they are used to distract the viewer from the lack of narrative sense.
"Almost Invisible" begins at a local community college where everyone in the picture takes one supremely idiotic class together. All the buddies and babes want to have a killer party, and so they accept the offer of a weird Goth chick to use her house. April (Sara Cole) has a creepy vibe, but a party is a party. None of the characters is distinguished in the slightest, but this random and rowdy bunch is not a particularly savory cross section of American youth. The film has no narrative flow and suffers major continuity issues, but a wild and destructive gathering is approximated in the film's melange of random shots. Things start to get unpleasant as killings may or may not be happening and the house traps the remaining kids inside. Their efforts to escape and get rescued are laughably inane. At one point, there are friends outside and they tell them to "try and find a way in" and not "go get help." I don't think the screenplay ever really decides what is happening inside the house and several options seem to be available--it's increasingly perplexing when characters are killed, but they show up again perfectly fine.
Through the mayhem, Cole relishes her chance to slither around. The singular point of interest is her relationship with Sammy Navarro (the only actor I actually wanted to look up). Navarro has a believable befuddled charm and his scenes with Cole are the film's most intriguing moments. A doomed romance of misfits--oh, how I wish someone had taken more of an effort with this plot. I'd like to say--hey this was a micro budget affair and be forgiving to the movie's shortcomings. But I'm not criticizing cheap effects, bad locales, or ineffectual actors--the party ends here on an undeveloped screenplay and story. And if you attempt a movie, these should be key prerequisites. About 1 1/2 stars--I'm rounding up for Cole and Navarro only and thinking about the movie I wanted to see. KGHarris, 3/11.