The Photon Effect (2010)

The Photon Effect (2010)
The Photon Effect (2010) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Five Beers) –

Every Thursday in June I’ll be reviewing Microbudget Indie flicks which have been sent in to us for review.  For the purpose of disclosure, I’ll define a microbudget film as “a movie that was likely made with a group of friends, spare change, and big dreams.”  As a word of caution; I will be holding these films to the same standards I do of any theatrical release.  Save for the technical details that the budget could not afford.

As for the synopsis, I’ll let the film’s Trailer tell you the story:

A Toast

The concept of two close friends gaining powers simultaneously and then, for whatever reason, choosing separate moral paths is an intriguing one.  The film is at its best when it focuses on the strained, but nevertheless close relationship between Derek and Jay.  Actor Derek Minter (Jay) manages some strong moments as the morally tormented of the two, who ultimately chooses chaos over heroics.  The visual effects are done well enough to get the point across, though not without the occasional cringe moment, forgivable considering the budget.

Beer Two

The dialog is often very naturalistic, which unfortunately throws the expository lines into stark contrast.  This is most noticeable when attempting to describe scientific or technical details.  Sometimes the dialog is sardonic and humorous, other times very serious.  It feels like a clumsy attempt to recapture the sort of highly stylized writing of the recent Marvel Universe films, but not quite succeeding.

Beer Three

Some scenes in the movie are very funny, others quite restrained, unfortunately though, they don’t quite blend together very comfortably.  As a writer, I know it is a huge challenge to keep up a comedic rhythm while also trying to get the point of the story across.  Unfortunately, writer/director Poole often resorts to cheap gags which clash completely with the scenes.  The repeating gag involving Jay using his powers to make people soil themselves is something which should have hit the cutting room floor.

Beer Four

Jay’s Ex-Girlfriend works on the program run by the film’s “Evil Conglomerate”, the RCI Corporation, and she knows enough about his background to know that he has stability issues, and is at least a crazy drunk.  In fact, they ask him to partake in the experiments shortly after he drunkedly attempts to break into their offices.  What moron thinks it is a good idea to give this guy powers that will only make him stronger?

“I’m sure he’ll never turn on us in a moment of irony”

Beer Five

Ultimately though, the film’s ambitions may have simply been too high given the money they had to make it.  Secondary actors are generally very poor, and the sets/locations are given very spartan dressing.  The action sequences just do not hold up when compared to films with similar concepts.  Nevertheless as some of the ideas in this film are quite interesting, I hope that Poole takes some time and puts together a more cohesive script next time around. Perhaps a better budget will help resolve this complaint.


Work on it, you’re almost there…


Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every shot of Derek running

Take a Drink: for sciencey mumbo jumbo

Drink a Shot: for fart jokes

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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