With the technological advances over the past decade, more filmmakers have been able to enter the field, and those in the field have more options available to them in regards to the finished product. However, just because you can use digital manipulations in producing your movie it doesn’t always mean you should. There is a double-edged aspect to this newfound freedom—knowing when to show restraint.
In the case of “Peak Experience,” you can get a sense of the excitement the writing/directing team of Christina and Anthony Leigh Adams felt in using digital technology to convey the spiritualistic aspects of their movie. Yet in their rush to craft high-tech mysticism they fall prey to one of the time-honored mistakes in Hollywoodland, ignoring the importance of a solid script. Rather than weaving a story that could have been enhanced with nice effects it feels as if they spent their energies setting up the players so they could eventually drape them in visual styling.
The story centers on Kat, an itinerant young woman possibly blessed with psychic abilities, but she seems vaguely aware of her powers. We meet her as a waitress at a bar where she is on stage reciting poetry. She’s a bit pouty because the patrons aren’t paying attention to her prose, but possibly it is because they are looking for their waitress and plate of nachos. Kat is so put off by the cultural sloth in the pub that she quits before she is fired, and on the way out the door sees a bulletin board with a job offer at a ski resort.
She rides up to the mountain retreat and is introduced to the owner, E.Z. Ferris and his assistant, Andre. Later they greet two visitors, Professor Cameron Beale, and his teaching-assistant, Heather. The prof is on the verge of releasing his theory on sub-atomic elements he calls sparticles. Typically he is lusting after his protégé’ and the retreat is meant as the place where they will breach university ethics. Also dropping in to the mountain is world-class snowboard champion, Buck Stone, brother and feuding partner of Andre.
Much of the first hour focuses on the cast interacting, but not really propelling any type of story line. And there are plenty of scenes of the group skiing. The professor and Heather have their abbreviated tryst, which eventually drives the girl towards Buck. Andre and Buck start bickering. EZ spouts countrified aphorisms while sensing there is something more to Kat. Cameron delivers his annual donation to keeping the resort afloat, even though his regular visits have done nothing to help his skiing. Kat meanwhile begins having visions that grow in intensity, making her wonder what is happening, and causing her to explore the lodge while curious behaviors begin to surface.
Kat dresses up in clothes found in a locked room, which causes EZ to have a conniption. Later, unprovoked, the professor stares at a model of a Ferris wheel and makes a bold confession that concerns nobody. EZ reveals some details involving the death of Andre and Buck’s father. Then nearing the end, an avalanche buries the lodge and while trapped inside, the cast experiences more odd occurrences. While much of the new-age spiritualism had been hinted at previously it is overtly unloaded for the finale, coming off as almost unworldly cartoonish.
The press kit hyped the origins of this so called compelling story. The production was rather professional and many of the cast members gave life to their characters, and the scenes on the slopes were nicely shot. But unfortunately the story just did not have enough content to carry things. Too bad more effort and imagination was used on the press kit than on the script.