The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - ADRENOCHROME | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - ADRENOCHROME

ADRENOCHROME movie review
An Army vet finds himself involved with a gang of Venice Beach psychos.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Trevor Simms

Starring: Trevor Simms, Larry Bishop, Adam Huss, Lewis Smith, Tom Sizemore, Jordan Monaghan

ADRENOCHROME movie poster

Adrenochrome (named after the drug mentioned in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) is the psychedelic fever dream of indie filmmaker and entrepreneur Trevor Simms. If a film really is a glimpse into the mind of its director, then his brain has been smoking some weird shit!

It’s odd, it’s cool, it’s hip baby, and it’s a horror that keeps the guts flowing.

West Walker (played by writer/director/editor/everything Simms), a veteran straight out of combat and new to LA, is looking for gold in them there hills. Somewhat aimless and haunted, he meets a friendly street hawker in Venice Beach selling ‘funny tasting tea’ that he imbibes at the local hookah joint.

Before you know it he’s off on a literal trip and taking the audience with him. There’s Hunter S Thompson in an American flag leading him to a mermaid-laden beach, where he ‘meets cute’ with one of the sea ladies (who I’m delighted to see is named Susie Finn!) and cavorts in an undersea romance.

His trip turns violent, but a few hours later we are just back in normal LA insanity with a party on the beach going full swing and lots of free love at hand.


Its not entirely normal however, as West witnesses a murder - strange topless jean-clad murderers cutting open a victim and removing his adrenal glands, which are then secreted in a jar. The police of course find no evidence, and arrest West for public intoxication.

The next day he’s employed by a Venice street hustler, Charlie (the boss of the other hustlers) who hires him to watch out for the girls selling the hallucinogens, and before you know it he’s connected with bikini girl Bonnie (Jordan Monaghan); the progression of their relationship is shown interspersed with bloody murders, all of which are perpetrated by those denim-wearing hoodlums.

There’s a cute ‘How to’ interjection regarding the production of mescaline that is fun but plays like a Russ Meyer fantasy, though the use of the knives to make percussion is a nice throwaway moment of genius.

West finds new work with a local heavy, taking out the ‘trash’ as he calls it, and this is where the plot lost me somewhat; as it weaves between PTSD-type flashbacks featuring the larger than life Tom Sizemore as a scenery chewing Army Sergeant, a ‘save the woman he loves’ plot and a bit more exposition regarding the drug that is extracted from the adrenals to make the ultimate high.


It is a slightly muddled screenplay that needed some tightening, as it gets a little confused in the mid-section, though I could still follow it enough to enjoy the satisfying ending.

The journey to the screen for this movie proved a tough one, what with auteur Simms suffering through multiple police encounters, shooting without a permit, motorcycle crashes, living off credit, breaking cameras and being sued by Coachella for creating his own film festival, Filmchella, to premiere the movie. Now that’s guerrilla film-making!

There are a few too many boob shots and up-skirt footage for my liking; I enjoy exploitation movies, but in this day and age a little equality wouldn’t go astray. I appreciate the little stars drawn onto the film stock to cover the nipples, but my favourite little piece of animation is the crosses over the victim’s eyes when a person passes away.


Featuring lush, vibrant cinematography and inventive, visually arresting direction, the look of this film is part grindhouse and part art-house - I liked it a lot.

Some of the choices made by Simms remind me of early Rob Zombie - all extreme close ups and graphic imagery, some ugliness and some grotesqueness like a lurid carnival; flashbacks and memories and reality combine in a cartoonish nightmare. It’s perhaps best described as Beach Blanket Bingo meets Easy Rider, with gore.

Being so shrill and gaudy at times, I can’t in all honesty say that this is absolutely my favourite type of movie, let alone my type of horror; but it is wildly inventive, unpredictable and exhilarating, and though West often proves to be an unreliable narrator, it's more about the journey than the destination.

It’s a B-movie for sure, but it's a groovy ride all the same.

Adrenochrome is on VOD now.