40 min., 2011
Directed by Armin Alic
My rating: ★
Somewhere over the rainbow, shit gets real…
* * *
When I first read the title of this short film, I expected it to have some sort of edge differentiating it from the typical slasher flick. Perhaps it’s about a gay serial killer, or a Gacy-esque clown murderer, or maybe the killer paints rainbows on all of his victims’ corpses because his 2nd grade art teacher told him his drawings sucked and he could never get over it.
Or, it just takes place on a street named Rainbow Drive…That works too, I guess.
The first issue that arises is in this film is the undetermined passage of time. We see our main hero Marcus (Benjamin Wade) waking up to the sound of his alarm at 12:26, talking to his friend Rico (Gabereal Da Crooze) on the phone about playing basketball with their friend Tye (Anthony Herring), but by the time Marcus and Tye get to the court, it’s clearly dusk outside. Did Marcus drive from Miami to Orlando or something?
Additionally, the two hear a noise in the park restroom and decide to investigate, leading to a moderately suspenseful scene ending with Rico hopping out and scaring them. Fair enough, except for when they leave the restroom, it’s pitch black outside.
This begs the questions: How long were these three in that restroom? Does this exist on a planet that orbits its star in a fraction of the time Earth does? Maybe that’s where the title Rainbow Drive comes into play: The sun begins setting unusually early, and whenever a rainbow appears, a townsperson gets killed. Or am I still getting my hopes way too high?
Another issue is the fact that this camera’s focus is absolutely terrible. To be fair, it’s clarified in the film’s YouTube title that it’s filmed on a Canon 550D T2i camera, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I can barely make out the characters’ faces for the first five seconds of each scene. This is a shame, because when it does focus, the cinematography is quite nice.
As far as the acting is concerned, it varies. The scene with the most convincing acting is when our 3 protagonists all just fucking around at Marcus’ house playing video games, leading me to believe they’re all friends in real life and, a la Toad Road, it’s not so much acting as it is documentation of genuine interaction, nonetheless leading to a believable scene. However, when shit gets real, and Marcus and Tye have to investigate the disappearance of Rico, I found myself cringing at some of the line delivery, particularly when they have to explain to their concerned neighbor Vanessa (Nicky Marie) why they’re carrying a knife and a golf club and persuading her not to call the police.
Speaking of, that scene is insanely uncomfortable to watch. I can understand that two black guys would be wary of the police investigating a possible murder/disappearance at their house given that Tye is on probation (and this does occur in the racist wasteland of Florida, of all places). However, the way they coerce Vanessa into not calling the cops is just creepy and makes me wonder how much I actually want to see these guys live.
Though, to be fair, nothing about this film is less forgivable than the scene where Tye walks into the bathroom to find the words “YOUR NEXT” written in blood on the mirror. “YOUR NEXT.” Yes, that actually happened. I’d believe that this is artistic license and that the killer is a semi-literate psychopath, except for the fact that it’s revealed that he’s totally not. Therefore, I can only conclude that the filmmakers have yet to comprehend the difference between a possessive and a contraction.
Speaking of the killer, I won’t comment on the film’s ending, except that had there been more time to fully develop the killer’s motive and backstory, it wouldn’t have felt as lame and rushed. Having said that, the ending is more or less the typical resolution of the hero walking off into the sunset, or rather the pitch black night (though to be fair, he only missed the sunset by maybe 15 minutes).
Rainbow Drive is an amateur film, and I would think it unfair to compare it to a film outside of its budget and actor range, but when there’s a humongous grammar error that should have been noticed by at least ONE person in production and I can’t even see what’s going on due to the severe lack of focus, there begin to be major issues. There’s apparently a sequel in the works, and I would hope the director learned a thing or two along the way. I’d stay clear of Rainbow Drive and just take a left on Mulholland instead.Have You Read...?