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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.5%
Worth A Look43.75%
Just Average: 6.25%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 37.5%

2 reviews, 4 user ratings

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by Jason Whyte

"Bostin Christopher deserves a career of better movies than this garbage."
1 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2008 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FESTIVAL: Roger Ebert could easily add this alleged dark thriller comedy picture to his next “Your Movie Sucks” or “I Hated, Hated, HATED this movie” book. If he doesn’t, I may have to start one of my own, as “Otis” easily fills the “sucks” quota, and boy did I hate it.

I am at a loss to figure out where to begin in my hatred of this picture. Could it be the horrible script, which includes sick and disgusting antics from all of its characters? Could it be the terrible direction by Tony Krantz, who shoots the action obviously knowing the picture is going straight to video (and it is later this year)? Could it be the pointless gore and gratuitous violence that in no way serves the story? Could it be that dreadful music jazzy music score that seems to be stuck on repeat in nearly every scene?

Or how about the fact that the movie is just not entertaining, it’s not scary, the “dark humor” is not amusing and just a complete waste of time? How about all of the above?

It says something when I viewed this with two other film critics (Scott Weinberg of Cinematical and Eric Snider of efilmcritic.com) who both walked out of the film before the end credits rolled. From what I know, the two of them have hardly walked out on a movie, and this is a midnight screening at South by Southwest…and that is definitely not a good sign.

Otis (Bostin Christopher) is a creep in what appears to be normal suburbia (no, don’t worry, this isn’t going into David Lynch territory), on the lookout for the perfect girlfriend named Kim. He finds it in young Riley (Ashley Johnson) who appears to him to be his Kim. So, he kidnaps her and ties her up in his basement. He keeps calling her “Kim”, despite the fact that her name is Riley, but he insists on the fact that her name is Kim. Amazingly – and this is around the point where Mr. Snider left the screening – is that Riley starts to go along with it.

When her parents (Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas) find out that their daughter is kidnapped, naturally they are scared and want her back. Their son (Jarred Kusnitz, much better in the SxSW entry “Dance of the Dead”) is wildly skeptical about everything and wants revenge. Otis also has an older brother (Kevin Pollack) who is caught by the crazy parents of Riley, and they believe that he is the one that kidnapped Otis. All so suddenly, the parents and son turn into revenge experts and torture and physically harm him.

At this point, I should also mention that there’s a music score by James S. Levine that DOES NOT STOP throughout the entire movie. To make matters worse, the music hardly matches any of the on screen action. The “score”, if you can call it that, is this kind of bland, muzak composition that simply plays as the action unfolds, nowhere near matching the sync of the film.

But anyway, let me get back on track. As Otis, Bostin Christopher appears to be an actor that can give a great performance, but his creepy antics only work for a short while here. It’s the script and direction of Christopher that sinks his performance. He tries to match wits with Ashley Johnson’s Riley, and Johnson, while pretty and a solid actress in earlier films, looks embarrassed to recite the dialogue. Worse, the likes of Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas and Jared Kusnitz are a family unit that does not match each other at all. Even Kevin Pollack, who can have great comedic timing and sarcasm, hits every wrong note you can imagine.

Even after writing about this film, I am still trying to figure out why the film was even made, let alone allowed to be put into production. Even the film’s final note is stupidly ambiguous, brought upon a bizarre act by the Jarred Kusnitz character that goes against any semblance of logic. The event triggers an overblown credit sequence that made me get up out of my seat and as fast as I could out of the cinema and to the freedom of outside, and I should have left when my colleagues did.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17156&reviewer=350
originally posted: 04/04/08 02:13:11
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Boston Underground Film Festival For more in the 2008 Boston Underground Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/02/09 Corky Only passably funny, but I could't stop watching... 3 stars
8/25/08 dr satan dry humor horror u cant go wrong this movie kicks ass 5 stars
6/11/08 Ash Best revenge flick I've seen since The Last House on the Left 4 stars
4/19/08 Jeff Seastone I really liked this film. Twisted and disturbingly funny. Bostin Christopher is GREAT! 5 stars
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  DVD: 10-Jun-2008



Directed by
  Tony Krantz

Written by
  Thomas Schnauz
  Erik Jendresen

  Daniel Stern
  Illeana Douglas
  Kevin Pollak
  Jere Burns

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