Hi again, ghosts and ghouls! I’m glad to be back – today’s going to be in a little bit different of a direction than I’m used to. The film I’m reviewing today isn’t so much a horror film as it is a drama. Looking back on my experience watching this film though, I do understand how horror could kind of be an undertone here, as sometimes the way people react to a tragedy is just as awful as the tragedy itself.
THE RAINBOW EXPERIMENT is just that: a look into what happens to a community after a tragedy. The students, parents, and staff of a Manhattan high school are sent reeling after a science experiment in class goes wrong, bringing up unbridled emotions and secrets that could make or break all of their relationships.
Matty Fairchild (Connor Siemer) is injured in a school science experiment conducted by his teacher. An investigation of the staff and students that follows the incident allows insight into how humans cope with tragedy, along with what people will do to keep themselves safe.
The format of the film follows a Saved By the Bell type narration style, where Matty jumps in and out, speaking directly to the camera, telling his side of the story as well as narrating the personalities of characters being introduced as he knows them. His father, unable to cope (and his mother as well, telling the story of their fucked-up marriage), his best friends, his principal who is kind of an ass but going through his own issues…
It’s sad, emotional, and the cast is great. Their emotions are entirely believable and you really do feel for most of them. I do enjoy the fact that the time is taken to explain the backstories of the characters, because it gives you a connection to each of them that is rare with most films these days. It isn’t often that character development is as thorough as it is in THE RAINBOW EXPERIMENT.
Unfortunately, there are A LOT of characters to pay attention to, many of which don’t really have much to do with the actual underlying story of the film, which takes attention away from important details. Granted, they each play an important role in each others’ lives, but someone watching the film at face-value that just wants a film about a science experiment gone awry is going to be confused. I believe that half of the stories could have been removed and the film would have still had the same effect, as a decent amount of it doesn’t really have much weight in the lives of the “front-and-center” type characters so to speak.
The edit is a little bit strange as well, it’s cut in strange places, which I’m sure is intentional, and they use a quadrant system where four stories are being told at once in all four corners of the screen, which is fun to watch. One quadrant’s volume will be louder than the rest, allowing you to focus on the “important” story at the time, but you’re able to witness what’s going on at the same time in other locations with other characters.
While the story was a little bit confusing at times, it’s endearing, heartwarming, sad, silly at times, and generally well-rounded. Like I said, while it’s not a horror film, the characters all have their own horror stories told within the film, which brings to light exactly why they act the way they do.
I’ve never been one to truly enjoy indie films, but if you’re looking for a film that ticks off all the boxes in terms of emotion and character development, THE RAINBOW EXPERIMENT is worth a watch.
THE RAINBOW EXPERIMENT arrives on VOD December 7th and DVD/Blu-ray December 11th