Director – Hank Braxton
Cast – Natalie Victoria, Arielle Brachfeld, Stephanie Greco, Lacy Fisher, Lony’e Perrine, Leigh Davis, Ruben Pla, Eric Hailey, Kevin Anthony Brooks, Madeleine Pla
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I knew very little about this flick going in. From the plot summary I could tell that this would employ a nowhere to run scenario, and that was all I needed to know. A weekend bachelorette party at a secluded cabin turns to chaos when a nearby train accident leaves the surrounding valley engulfed in a deadly mist. With nowhere to run and paranoia setting in, the women aren’t safe inside or outside of the cabin.
There are four credited writers to this story and that is usually a precursor for disaster. Aside from some mediocre dialogue I can say that the story doesn’t count as a disaster for me. Two of the actresses in the film also serve as writers, so teamwork is the theme here. Things start off fun, as one would expect for a bachelorette party, but by the 17 minute mark the first sign of horror hits. The women notice right away that something is wrong, as what was supposed to be a calm sunny weekend has been replaced with low-visibility fog. To make matters worse, the fog smells like bleach. Soon enough they learn the hard way that prolonged exposure to the elements will make ones flesh literally peel off their bones, hence the film’s title.
I am sad to say that there are no creatures lurking in the fog and this is strictly a disaster film where the horror stems from both the outbreak and the characters’ reaction to the conflict. I enjoyed watching the women go into survival mode and do their best to seal the home and keep the fog outside. Sealing the entire home is impossible, so time is of the essence and desperation kicks in when help does not come to their secluded area. We see the characters fight over decisions that must be made, like food rationing and :gasp: whether or not to let someone (and the fog) inside. There is plenty of tension written into the film and the writers do a good job of throwing in constant developments regarding the horror/fog. I was happy to see a good amount of deaths in the flick, and some of them were much gorier than I expected and drawn out to force the viewer to squirm in his/her seat. This story is not without its faults, but its biggest faults were budget related while the lesser ones, like poor dialogue at times, were story-related.
With a $20,000 (estimated) budget director Hank Braxtan did not have much to work with, but he definitely made the most of it. He sucked me in early on with a solid location that allowed me to envelop myself into the film and put myself in the same situations our characters were forced to endure. Even if a film isn’t that good, being immersed in it always makes for a more pleasing experience. The fog was believable and his execution of the deaths was pretty solid, and as mentioned earlier, they were drawn out to get the most extreme reaction from the viewer. Braxton employs live-action gore and delivers more and more of it as the horror increases, so if the dialogue bothers you then the goods should hopefully remove some of the sour taste.
Overall, Chemical Peel is alright. It’s not great and I won’t recommend it to anyone, but considering its budget it was better than it sure have been.