Directed by: #RichardHeene
Written by: Richard Heene
American Chilly: It's Killing Me review
An anarchic and cacophonous interactive-theatre-production-cum-heavy-metal-gig, indie film American Chilly from #filmmaker Richard Heene is unlike anything you have ever seen before. The audience/crowd play witness to a baffling storyline interspersed with live performances and advert skits, whilst a live countdown on their Facebook page gives attendees the chance to influence the outcome of the plot.
Dean Pskowski plays Morgen, a father of three who inherits a cursed restaurant in the middle of America’s nowhere. He traipses across country with his musician sons (Falcon Heene, Bradford Heene, and Ryo Heene) in tow, hoping to make a go of it, only to find a huge array of insanely plotted challenges and colourful characters coming his way. Oh, and there’s enough poo references and gags to make a TV show like Bottom look like Downton Abbey.
First, the positives. It’s energetic, free-flowing, and the kids can definitely play their instruments. Their songs (whilst crammed full of senseless references to the plot) are unique and powerfully performed, with the guitarists often going out into the crowd to rouse everyone up. Their sound is what you would imagine the love children of a threeway between Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Tenacious D would sound like. The fact that they are so young and can put on a rock orchestra for over two hours (and trust me, I know it was that long) is at the very least impressive. It’s a shame the intermingling of their rocking abilities was not combined with a more nuanced storyline and competent production.
Sadly, the negatives could go on longer than the Metallica back catalogue. The production values are eye-wincing, with poorly placed cameras attempting in vain to keep up with the plethora of bizarre characters, songs, and plotlines. The choreography of America Chilly is nonexistent, with performers tripping over each other and seeming to have no reason to be on stage, yet - there they are! At one point, the audience is encouraged to throw toilet paper onto the stage (after yet another defecation scene) and the mess just keeps coming.
The performers, whilst energetic, lack any theatrical skills and deliver lines like they just picked them up and read them off a napkin. The audience, amazingly, seem to be fully invested in the piece, guffawing at the numerous innuendos and poop jokes, making this viewer think they were likely friends and family of the band. It is also massively repetitive, with an endless stream of stopping for a song and watching Falcon (the bassist and lead singer) overdramatically sing his lines whilst the guitarist pops off to the side or into the audience to play an indulgent solo.
Unique and ambitious to a fault, The Rocky Horror Picture Show or We Will Rock You this aint.