THE CHAOS EXPERIMENT, Review: Join me in the Hate.

Posted by Peter Hall - August 5th 2009 @ 6:04 pm

Directed by Philippe Martinez, 2009
Written by Robert Malkani

There are bad movies.  There are stupid movies.  There are shitty movies.  There are awful movies.  And there is Philippe Martinez’s THE CHAOS EXPERIMENT, which is an awful shitty, awful stupid, awful bad movie.  And I’d say that’s an awful shame because it has Eric Roberts, Armand Assante and Val Kilmer in it, but that would be a lie.  It’s not a shame.  They’re grown men who have been in dozens of movies running the entire length of the quality spectrum.  They know how to read a script and have a meet and greet with a director.  If they didn’t pick up on how poorly constructed the script was or how inept of a director Martinez would turn out to be, I feel no shame in calling the kettle a black, steaming pile of crap.

More than likely is the scenario that all three knew what was coming and decided to just go through with it and get paid.  That being the case, I don’t blame ’em.  No one’s ever going to see this thing anyway, right?  Even so, I’m still dubious that there weren’t better projects out there with the same pay scale.

What is shameful, however, is that I’m not only the kind of person who gives THE CHAOS EXPERIMENT a chance in the first place, but I’m the jackass who gives schlock priority over far better films.  There’s stuff sitting on my DVD shelf that I own but have never seen that I’m positive is better than a mad man trapping 6 people in a steam room to prove how awful the effects of global warming will be.  Yet here I am, yet again punishing myself by sitting through a film I know is going to be junk.  I just have to know for myself.  I never learn.

Things start off okay.  Val Kilmer approaches a newspaper editor asking him to help him save the world.  Ya know, standard chit-chat.  A few minutes go before Kilmer and Assante are playing off each other; Assante the grizzled cop who just wants to punch the clock and bang some old dames, Kilmer the man no one believes has actually trapped six people in a steam room.  It’s an interesting start, but then we get to the actual steam room (the titular chaos experiment) and all hell breaks loose.  Not in the movie of course, it’s pretty tame, but it’s at this point that all the cracks in Robert Malkani’s script surface and Martinez proves incapable of style or grace.

The character introductions could not possibly be more cliched.  What follows is essentially a round table of each character reading their scripted character bio (“Hey-yo, I’m Frank.  If you couldn’t already tell from my absurd accent, I’m from Brooklyn, which clearly makes me the wildcard of the bunch”).  They’re also considerably more forthright than strangers ever would be, even for ones lured into the trap under the auspice of it being sponsored by a dating service.  Then it’s only a matter of few ticks of the clock before sweaty chic #1 drops her top, which is sadly more comical than alluring.  From there on it’s all washed out, hideous photography, obnoxious editing and daft storytelling.

I can’t remember the last time I watched something this ugly.  If the yellow gel light that drowns the steam isn’t enough to give you a headache, there’s a post-production blur effect added to every shot to remind us that they’re in a steam room.  Because a movie about a man who traps people in a sauna to prove that rising temperature will drive all humans to the brink of insanity apparently thinks we the audience are the morons.  Us ditch diggers would never remember they’re supposed to be sweltering without the film equivalent of the stinky lines a 5 year old draws around a stick figure combined with the repeated insertion of Val Kilmer gruffing, “Do you know what happens to a person in 130 degrees?  Their lungs melt and their eyes cauterize.”

Lungs melt and eyes cauterize?  Yeah, maybe if Godzilla blasts you with radioactive breath, not if you’re simply walking around in 130 degrees in a swimsuit.  My lungs and eyes work just fine, thanks, and I spent three weeks in the blast furnace that is Qatar’s 136 degree daily weather — and that was during Ramadan where it was law to wear long sleeves.  Welcome to the Internet, Robert Malkani, it can be used for something called research.  There are thousands upon thousands of people who already live in conditions like that or worse.  I bet the soldiers at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti will pick up a copy of THE CHAOS EXPERIMENT at the PX (this is the kind of movie all PX’s are stocked with, btw) and wish it was as cold as 130 degrees outside.

And I’ve yet to even broach the abysmal ending.  I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who is a glutton for film punishment like I am.  Just think of a predictable ending for a story like this, the kind that would make you laugh out loud if it happened.  Take that idea, make it huff lead paint as a child, hit it over the head with a sledgehammer and then have it take a calculus test.  That’s about how stupid the ending to this movie is.

Guh, I’ve already spent longer thinking about THE CHAOS EXPERIMENT than its creators did.  Now I just want to smash my head into my keyboard until the next obvious floater comes my way.  I wonder what’s on Syfy…

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comments are closed
  1. adam charles
    August 6th, 2009 | 9:00 am | #1

    You missed the point Peter!

    It’s not ‘really’ about global warming. It’s commentary on why there will never be peace in the Middle East. It’s the heat. Look deeeeeeper Peter; there are many, many subtle hints in this film telling what it’s actually trying to say. This film which I’ve never seen.

  2. Ripp
    August 6th, 2009 | 11:29 am | #2

    Are we talking Fahrenheit or Celsius? Either way I don’t see your lungs melting or eyes cauterizing but some VERY bad things would happen to a human body at 136 degrees Celsius.

  3. yzh
    August 7th, 2009 | 8:08 am | #3

    Wow. I’ve never seen a reviewer ramble so much as this one did. I give this one 1/2 a star.

  4. Brian
    August 7th, 2009 | 8:56 am | #4

    Oh dang! yzh called you out on your rambling, Peter. And he was like giving THE CHAOS EXPERIMENT a way higher rating than you! But wait, is he saying he gives it 1 of a 1/2 star or 1 and a 1/2? It’s a mystery and it makes you think! You see how yzh is making me using my brain with his comment? He has it going on using mysterious succinctness to combat your rambling garbage dump of a review! Score one 1/2 point to yzh for putting Peter in his place!

  5. August 7th, 2009 | 9:19 am | #5

    I quit this website.

  6. Brian
    August 7th, 2009 | 9:30 am | #6

    Awesome! Can I take it over? I’ve been looking for an opportunity to fold it into

  7. adam charles
    August 7th, 2009 | 10:02 am | #7

    You wish you knew how to quit this website Peter. It’s your Ennis Del Mar.

  8. August 8th, 2009 | 1:05 pm | #8

    This review couldn’t be more accurate. Well done.

  9. redrum81
    August 13th, 2009 | 9:37 am | #9

    man i have seen this movie and read all yalls bullshit comments, and still dont understand the fuckin end of the movie. ok so im a fukn dumass and ive already said it, but will someone please tell me wtf? was the blackheaded dude the doctor the whole time?

  10. August 13th, 2009 | 9:43 am | #10

    Spoiler Alert for anyone who still actually wants to see the movie, which is not recommended.

    Yes, redrum81, Val Kilmer was really a mental patient who escaped from the doctor, Patrick Muldoon, who was really the one doing the experiment, which was in turn really an experiment that had taken place months prior to Val Kilmer escaping and talking to the newspaper/police at the beginning of the movie.

  11. sean
    August 17th, 2009 | 8:01 am | #11

    Peter I totaly Agree this movie sucked Balz. My god this was bad. and Peter i live in Qatar and i couldnt agree more that 130 here is normal..we go for merry walks with big smiles :) ok actualy we don;t smile cuz smiling is banned in doha ..yes people it is illegal to smile too much here..anyway my 2 dhirams.

    p.s wtf happend to val kilmer? where’s the morrison-kilmer gone?

  12. Chris
    August 30th, 2009 | 11:11 pm | #12

    Very funny review! That cast and that stupid plot could have made for an enjoyably bad movie, but this movie was indeed “a black, steaming pile of crap” (in a steam room).

  13. Eman44
    September 3rd, 2009 | 11:16 pm | #13


  14. Patrick
    September 4th, 2009 | 5:38 am | #14

    Yea, the first steam room scene was almost painful to watch, I was actually gritting my teeth. Now there’s room for debate, which movie warning about global warming is crappier, The Chaos Experiment or The Happening?

  15. Patrick
    September 4th, 2009 | 5:40 am | #15

    It’s close but I’d say this hunk of dookie is.

  16. Amber
    September 5th, 2009 | 8:36 pm | #16

    Well, my take on the movie was that the director did a better job at making global warming look like some nut-job hypothesis than an actual possibility. I’m sorry, but using a delusional schizophrenic as a trusted source just seems, well… crazy. Plus, in my opinion, the heat wasn’t making those people turn on each other or kill them self. It was being trapped in a room with a homicidal claustrophobic; a big mouth, sex addicted, bitch; an insecure, suicidal, neurotic; and a psychotic, mentally disturbed, psychologist. That would be enough to make anyone go crazy! As far as I’m concerned, the blond and the football player were pretty normal, with normal(-ish) reactions. The football player’s hypothesis was correct. The only thing I’m still puzzled about is whether the ex-actress was “with” the doctor the whole time? Or did she just become emotionally attached AFTER they shared an emotionally traumatizing experience (that could be enough to drive anyone crazy)?

  17. Amber
    September 5th, 2009 | 8:42 pm | #17

    Oh. And Peter. I completely agreed with your article. Don’t quit what you do because someone doesn’t share your opinion. There are plenty of others that do (including me). Plus, what good would these absurd excuses for movies be good for, if not to evoke some controversy??

  18. Amber
    September 5th, 2009 | 8:48 pm | #18

    One more thing…. The moving couldn’t be more wrong about the Social Darwinism. The ones that survived were anything but the fittest. A smaller GIRL was the first one to kill. And, beside the doctor, the last one to survive was also a little girl (in comparison to the men). I’m not convinced…

  19. JoeCarter
    September 14th, 2009 | 9:40 pm | #19

    Hey thanks for the review! I was almost going to rent this, but it seems that would have been a wasted dollar. ;)

  20. SAW
    September 22nd, 2009 | 10:04 am | #20

    The movie was about the human condition when challenged with seemingly zero chance of survival. While the premise of the Global Warming aspect was a little too far out, the point again was about how individuals will react under such circumstances. It is not about the fittest of body but the fittest of mind, whose mind will blow out first? Oh, 130 degrees in dry Arizona is nothing like 130 degrees in 100% humidity. 130 degrees in 100% humidity would not see you smiling if you were locked in a room for two hours.

    While it’s certainly no blockbuster, it’s an interesting point of view regarding the human condition and while I am not sorry I watched it, I would only recommended it to those who might see beyond the swallow intellect of those who have previously commented above.

  21. Michael Amish
    September 24th, 2009 | 4:23 pm | #21

    This is not a film. This is a film within a film within a film. This is a film about a guy who dreamed that he could write and he gave his script to a fat guy who dreamed he could direct, and he gave the script to a bunch of fat guy who could once act and dreamed about being actors again. Surprisingly compext. Want to know what HELL is? imagine being forced to watch this movie…not for infinity or even perpetuity…but just once. Credit where credit is due, never has a piece of utter excrement been so thoughtfully crafted. Slit your wrists now, because there is crap like this in the world…what a terrible world it is. Kudos to the original reviewer here. If these wanna be filmakers had 1/100th of your wit…this piece of shit might have had a little shine to it.

  22. Wasted 2 hours
    October 14th, 2009 | 2:44 pm | #22

    This is an ubelieveably bad movie, tell me it was a joke please??? The worst move ever and they dont even tell who the fuck it was with the nail gun, horible plot and left a lot unexplained. I really have never seen a worse movie Cannot believe Val played in this movie, horible. It is sad because now I have to kill everyone in the movie!!!!

  23. Wasted 2 hours
    October 14th, 2009 | 2:47 pm | #23

    btw what the fukc was up with the manerisms of everyone in this, the way the black cop talked helping the detective and the faggot from brookland. yo forget about it, i am a faggot. Everyone breaks down in 10 minutes and starts killing eachother, my kid could have produced a better movie. I am going to start a foundation that hates this director and movie that is how strognly i feel about this. Malkini go fucking blow your head off and kill every spawn you have to prevent poluting the gean pool that is worst than global warming. you are a looser and a fucking idiot.

  24. Chris Rittersdorf
    November 21st, 2009 | 1:07 am | #24

    I live in Grand Rapids, MI. I rented this moving knowing that it’d be pertty bad. But I was NOT perpared for what this at all. I thougt “Hey wouldn’t that be cool if ‘Doc Holliday’ were on the street I used to live on before I moved to Eastown. No. This wass just awful. Completely awful. No excuse. This movie really put ‘Gummo’ into perspective.

  25. taylor
    December 21st, 2009 | 2:32 am | #25

    I just got finished watchin this movie…
    without the treacherous slow motion, yellow tint, HORRIBLE music, crawling steam room scenes, this movie could have been about 45minutes instead of 2+ horrible hours. If the director ever reads this, the only good scene was the press scene.
    this is how i watched the movie.
    confused about the merry-go-round
    confused about the bandage on his head
    watched the press room scene, not bad.
    watched the first steam room scene…eh, suffer-through-able
    then Ms.idontgiveashit makes it alittle exciting with her topless scene
    then its downhill…..i fast forwarded each steam room scene from there on out…and muted it due to the shitty music.
    the ending makes no sense, but i was ecstatic when the “the end” screen showed up.
    There were multiple editing mess ups that i don’t feel like typing about.
    summed up–1) cops lapel 2) the dudes hair when telling ms.idontgiveashit to shut her mouth.

  26. TR
    December 26th, 2009 | 3:51 pm | #26

    Horrible Horrible Horrible movie. Global Warming?? This movie should have not ever been made and that would have helped in the fight of Global Warming. The energy wasted on this pile of shit called a film could have been used on something else. There are so many things wrong with this movie I don’t know where to begin.
    Anyone defending this movie needs to knock themselves out and stop using good air.

  27. yo----me
    December 31st, 2009 | 2:54 pm | #27

    …I just finished watching this,…..”movie” and I googled it right away to see if it was me, or did others find it totally stupid. I have never seen such a piece of crap, well maybe one, and I think that it was called Cut Throat Island? I was lured in by thoughts of seeing a “Doc Holiday” character. I don’t recommend this piece to anyone, well, maybe to our friends down at the Gitmo Resort.

  28. Katrice
    February 8th, 2010 | 10:19 pm | #28

    So, I am so glad I am not the only person who subjects themselves to watching such awful movies. I just can’t help it. Once I start a movie I have to watch it all the way through. Don’t ask me why! It is beyond lame… movie was so bad. Just finished it one Netflix. I want to write strongly worded letters to them for even having this. It has defiled my poor xBox with it’s lameness. And Netflix didn’t even have Once Upon A Forest… shut up! I am a girl after all… Movie kicks ass. So I am now watching Driftwood… I hope it’s not another one. But Netflix seems to have a knack for having the worst movies ever made… i.e. The Chaos Experiment, Nymphoid Barbarians In Dinosaur Hell (so bad lol but hilarious), Every Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movie ever made is on there… yet I can only find perhaps, two of Martin Scorsese films… ok enough ranting… I’ll let you know how Driftwood worked out… =[

  29. Ryan
    March 14th, 2010 | 2:02 am | #29

    Not even worth seeing for those who are so curious about movies with bad reviews, that they feel they must see it. Take a nap and have a dream instead.

  30. Jennifer
    July 7th, 2010 | 10:41 pm | #30

    Never even heard of this movie before I saw it in the red box machine at Kroger – that should have been my first clue. But it starred Val Kilmer whom I’ve loved since Willow, so how bad could it be?

    Sigh…. well at least I only wasted a buck plus tax!

  31. Donna
    July 12th, 2010 | 5:52 pm | #31

    Philippe Martinez is a crook! He took film incentive money in michigan and then tried to con people into illegally working for free. This guy is an utter slime ball! And his movies suck!

  32. Phil
    July 12th, 2010 | 6:32 pm | #32

    Right on Donna. This guy is a real sleeze. That film incentive money was supposed to give people jobs. He pretty much stole the food from their mouths. What a rotten person. Maybe he should go back to that french prison he spent some time in.

  33. Christin
    July 18th, 2010 | 1:58 am | #33

    I watched this by accident on cable and like someone else mentioned above, once I start watching any movie, I sadly can’t stop. After watching the movie as it got worse and worse, the non-sensical ending (and lack of explanation of merry-go-round and so many other things) made me crazy, and I had to get online to find out what others were saying. Peter, your review and all the other comments here cheered me greatly. The humor on this page *almost* made up for my suffering watching the movie!

  34. mitch
    August 13th, 2010 | 9:54 am | #34

    i don’t get the ending: the blond with the doctor, just to top it off.

    the killing room was much much much better in a similar claustrophobic sense of a movie.

  35. Steve
    September 21st, 2010 | 3:40 am | #35

    Ugh i just finished this shit i wish to god i would have checked out the reviews before. i like val alot and i’m even all for his straight to dvd movies as of late like felon. I want my hour and a half back and i’ll just stair at a wall. Usually if a movie is bad i’ll just shrug it off but this was so bad that i had to find a website to see if i was just me then vent my frustrations

  36. ben
    January 16th, 2011 | 6:07 am | #36

    Are you guys kidding me? This is like one of my favorite movies of all time. Like I have seen it 5 or 6 times already. I don’t understand why there is so much hate against this movie……………….


    This movie was BAD. It was so bad that when that girl slit her own throat I felt like following suit. Seriously, what kind of sick sadistic fuck produces such a “movie” if I can even call it that. Did I feel suspense? No. Did I feel scared? No. Did I feel intrigued by the plot? No. Did I understand why some of the characters personality’s randomly changed half way through the movie for no apparent reason? No. Did I understand the ending? Yes but WHAT THE FUCK? Was I irritated? hell yes!!!!! Why? Aside from all the aforementioned atrocities the scenes at the end along with the music made it seem like the producers were trying to make the ending into some super clever, witty, shocking twist of an ending. Which it…….omg……was not! There are no analogy’s in real life that can describe this movie. But if shit could poop, this movie would be the 8th generation down the line of poop.

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