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First Look Review - MONOCHROME: THE CHROMISM

Monochrome: The Chromism review
In a black and white world, one man bleeds red.

Review by Paul Grammatico

Directed by: Kodi Zene

Starring: Josh Bangle, Cat Merritt, Devin Leigh, Ryan Barnes, Andre Pelzer, Shashana Pearson

Monochrome: The Chromism poster

The world has contracted and endured many plagues that have rambled and ravaged across the globe for many centuries. The people who are cursed with the latest pestilence are labelled with the stigma of being infected or branded by some uncaring, cruel or ignorant slur associated with the disease.

An example of this would be in 1992 when then Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee (who later ran for President in 2008) advocated that HIV/AIDS patients should be isolated from the general public.  He then doubled down on his view by stating, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk." This ignorant statement was then proven false by science and that anyone, despite sexual orientation, could contract the disease.

Monochrome: The Chromism review

Now with COVID-19, along with many other modern illnesses, any person can be marked a pariah and can be peppered with insults and ignorance if they are faced with these afflictions.

Tempest Studio gifts us with Monochrome: The Chromism. This DIY kitchen sink sci-fi feature screened in grayscale shows us an example of how a world goes wrong over a virus that fleshes out the infected in full technicolor.


A hood-wearing Isaac Ward (Joshua Bangle) roams a dusty, burned out, black and white countryside.  He comes across a diner where he stops to get a glass of water.  When one of the diner customers pulls Isaac’s hood back, he is exposed as a "hue." Isaac, in full colour, stands out in sharp contrast to the throng clad in monochrome. When Isaac is knocked out cold by one of the diner’s waitresses, the film takes us back to Isaac in his pre-hue days in a dystopian landscape as his environment has been carved into zones chequered with checkpoints.

Monochrome: The Chromism review

At the end of Isaac’s workday, he is off to a restaurant with his brother Jerry (Ryan Barnes) for a surprise proposal to Isaac’s girlfriend Victoria (Kat Merritt). As Isaac goes back to his car for the engagement ring, he is shot in the street. As Isaac bleeds from his wound, he has been inexplicably infected with the hue virus.

Battling the chaos in the streets, a nuclear war with England, and a suited man named Donovan (Devin Leigh) with his shadowy entourage, Isaac must find a way to escape his situation as his foes have put a bounty on him as the first hue.


The film is scribed, shot, and helmed by Kodi Zene, who performs an expert job on the story and gets kudos for venturing into the realm of black and white. The story exemplifies the virus as a metaphor for racism, ignorance and chaos, which mirrors many of the ills in present society. From a filmic standpoint, it provides the feel of a low-budget, underground film with its no-frills, unvarnished shooting style coupled with an understated sound style. It is unfiltered and raw, but for this film, it works as it provides an audio and visual experience not seen and heard in more polished films.

Monochrome: The Chromism review

Bangle gives a strong performance as Isaac. As played by Barnes, Jerry is a great contrast of brawn to Isaac’s brains. Merritt as the distraught damsel provides excellent energy, and Leigh is decadent as the deadpan heavy.

Despite its low-fi look, Monochrome: The Chromism should be crowned as a prime example of how no matter what equipment you have on hand, a good story will always win out. This film could light the fuse and be a standard for similar films to come, and we can all be thankful for that.

Monochrome: The Chromism is on US VOD now. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

2020 movie reviews