A young couple move into their new home that holds a dark secret that's hidden by the town's folk.
Folks probably don't believe me when I say it but I actually don't intentionally hate Chemical Burn's titles the way I do - a majority of the ones they have sent me have been THAT bad. I'm not even going to get into percentages of good/bad titles because math is one thing I should never be allowed near. I certainly have the right to expect the worst and I certainly did with "Crowbar: The Killing of Wendell Graves" but to my surprise the movie turned out to be one of Chemical Burn's better titles. With that I mean the movie looks like the people behind the scenes actually put thought and effort into their project.
In a few interviews and on the movie's website, director Scott M. Phillips says "Crowbar" is not a slasher movie but an intelligent and artistic thriller. I can appreciate the desire to go beyond a basic genre title but I don't think "Crowbar" accomplishes at being anything else but a slasher. The story revolves around a couple who moves into a house in a small town that seems perfect, even though their neighbors and the general town folk act a little strange. Everything seems normal except for a giant man wearing an old-fashioned welders mask starts killing people who enter the home with his trusty crowbar. The couple who bought the house are never killed but anyone else who dares to enter the home will never leave. Now it's up to the home owners to unravel the mystery and uncover the dark secrets that the town is hiding.
Hopefully after you read that this music popped into your head.
I do commend Scott M. Phillips and his crew for wanting to step outside the box a bit and try to debut a feature length that isn't redundant. When I watched "Crowbar" it seemed like they didn't quite reach the goals that they had set. Rather, it felt like a slasher with sub-plots and twists that didn't really work with the core storyline. More specifically, the sub-plot about the town's involvement with the killer - it's apart of that typical quiet middle-America that actually has a seedy underbelly angle. That in itself felt a bit redundant (almost as much as a basic slasher) and it didn't seem to tie into the killer's storyline as well as it needed to. It was almost like you were watching two different movies that had been spliced together with some new footage thrown in, trying to make it appear to be one movie. The main plotline, Wendell Graves and the murders, was overly convoluted with unecessary twists in attempt to make "Crowbar" seem like it's not a slasher when it fundamentally still is.
Storyline wise "Crowbar" wasn't bad but it seemed like the harder it tried to be different and to expand beyond a sub-genre the more it hindered itself because it was hitting on more and more clichéd plotpoints. The other selling point of the movie is the cinematography and again, like the storyline, it became both a high point and a low point for me in terms of how good the final product was. The actual cinematography and camera work itself is really good for a no-budget movie like "Crowbar" - it's not somebody running around with a consumer rated camera. The movie was shot by Kurt Richter and is definitely responsible for helping to hide the movie's short comings. The actual look of the movie drove me crazy because the whole movie maintains a piss-yellow color and it simply did not work. Color correcting a movie to a simple pallet of only a few colors can work well for atmosphere and general mood for a movie. But here, the color became an annoyance because it was an atrocious color. Not even sure how they settled on the color scheme that they did. Maybe because it was suppose to be set in the fall? I have no idea but it made it seem like I was watching the movie through a jar of urine. It wasn't pleasant.
I couldn't get into "Crowbar" because the story seemed basic while attempting to be complicated when it didn't need to be and the general coloring of the movie made me nutty. Regardless, "Crowbar" is a passable movie; I would give Scott Phillips and his team an A for effort, at least. I think this movie will probably playout decent enough for low-to-no budget movie horror afficionados because there is a genuine effort and thought that was put into the movie. Unfortunately, for me, the final product is a below average movie.