Toxic Impulses Image

Toxic Impulses

By Alan Ng | December 2, 2022

Nothing should stop you from making your movie, no matter the genre. Writer-director Kyle Schadt‘s Toxic Impulses shows that any genre, in this case, noir, is within any filmmaker’s grasp. Our story centers on disgraced ex-police officer Mosley (Benedikt Sebastian). He spends his days languishing away on the sofa, eating chips and watching television. His only friend is his neighbor, Liz (Helene Udy), who protects him like a rabid dog.

While returning home one day, Mosley is approached by a different neighbor, Zemira (Olivia Buckle). She’s in trouble and needs help getting a very powerful person, Boyd (Robert Ackerman Moss), off her back. Zemira won’t go into any detail, but Boyd is forcing her to do something really bad. Somewhat smitten with Zemira, Mosley agrees.

With what little clues he has, Mosley eventually stumbles upon Zemira’s ex-husband, James (Jay Habre). The furious Zemira tells Mosley he’s off-limit (with little explanation), and passions ignite in the heat of the moment. Now, the trap is set, and we learn that Zemira is a highly-skilled bank robber. She does these jobs to pay her debt off (and fund her meth habit). However, each time she robs a bank, the police quickly close in. Zemira finally breaks down and begs Mosley for help. Of course, Mosley comes to the rescue, but nothing about this situation is easy, and his suspicions are on high alert.

First, I’m simply amazed Toxic Impulses was made at all. I know very little about this particular production, but I assume the budget was very small. The use of stock video is prominent not only in transitions and L.A. cityscapes but with important plot and narrative points. However, the blending of stock and original footage is amazing and should encourage any independent filmmaker who wants to make a thriller on a budget. It’s possible, and it can look really good.

“…Mosley is approached by a different neighbor, Zemira. She’s in trouble and needs help…”

That said, the fact that I’m mentioning this means I noticed it. Ultimately, the goal is to fool the audience 100%. The transitions from real to fake need to feel more seamless to reach elite status. Aside from the stock footage, the way the car chase on L.A. streets and freeways is shot is absolutely impressive.

Without knocking Schadt’s accomplishments, the motion picture still suffers from the same problems that plague indie productions in general. The acting is a bit stiff. But, then again, films like Toxic Impulses provide the experience actors need to get better. I do have to call out Mosley’s voiceover throughout the movie. It’s really wooden and needed more vocal inflection to inject life into it. It just stands out as odd. But Buckle is the perfect example of a femme fatale. She’s sexy, vulnerable, the damsel-in-distress, and the girl you want nothing to do with. You root for her; you want to be her boyfriend. Well, until you come to your senses.

Where this shines is its story. It strives to be a modern noir and succeeds. Yes, it’s not perfect, but it captures the noir spirit so much that you’ll easily forgo the slightest cinematic imperfections. The editing and cinematography relay a lot of the atmosphere.

Toxic Impulses is a fun thriller, beautifully shot and edited together. It’s as close as you’re going to get to making a hard-hitting noir with next to no budget. This film will inspire you to finish that script, act in your friend’s next project, or, better yet, make your movie dammit.

For screening information, visit the Toxic Impulses Facebook page.

Toxic Impulses (2022)

Directed and Written: Kyle Schadt

Starring: Benedikt Sebastian, Olivia Buckle, Helene Udy, Jay Habre, Robert Ackerman Moss, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Toxic Impulses Image

"…strives to be a modern noir and succeeds."

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