July 2, 2008

Otis (2008)

Otis is released under the Raw Feed imprint, which previously gave us movies such as Rest Stop and Sublime, and unlike those two is more of a comedy than a straight out horror flick. Admittedly it is a very black, sick and twisted kind of comedy, but a comedy nonetheless. There are laugh out loud moments throughout, although the best moments are to be found during the second half of this quite cool movie. That is not to say that there isn't any horror to be found here, there is, and plenty of it, although the straight horror scenes are generally to be found in the scenes which focus on the titular character, whereas in other parts the comedy almost overshadows the nastiness occuring on the screen.

The movie itself is about a character, who is funnily enough, named Otis. He's a bloody mountain of a man who has a penchant for abducting girls, holding them captive and trying to force them into his fantasy world where they are his date to his high school prom. Each girl he kidnaps he names Kim, for some reason, and throws a tantrum if they tell him their real name. So far he has taken five girls; all have ended up dead, and in one case, chopped up into little pieces.

His latest victim is Riley, who reluctantly plays along with his game in order to avoid getting a beating. Unbeknownst to her though her parents have brought in the FBI in order to try and find her. The trouble is the lead Agent, named Hotchkiss, is bloody useless, and extremely funny, and this causes Riley's parents and brother to take matters into their own hands.

Otis starts off in a fairly dark vein, with snippets of humour thrown in; such as the over-the-top news reports and the banter from Agent Hotchkiss. You see, Otis may act as though the girls are the love of his life but he isn't adverse to using a little violence, and incredibly crude language, in order to get what he wants. As mentioned though the movie gets gradually more comedic as it progresses, which is quite strange being as the latter stages are probably the most violent parts of the movie. This is due in part to the wonderful performances by Illeana Douglas and Daniel Stern as Riley's parents. This is where the humour really kicks into overdrive, it is deliciously sick and twisted, and along with Jared Kusnitz as Riley's brother Reed, they proceed to throw out the laughs with glee.

Kevin Pollak turns up as well playing Otis' brother, but his role is very much a one-trick pony, and gets a little tiresome. Fortunately it is no more than an extended cameo until later on in the movie. One other role of interest, to me anyway, was the very brief cameo by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs who reprises his role of Mandingo, who was a character in the Raw Feed release of Sublime. This seems to have been included for nothing more than an in-joke being as though he says nothing and only appears in the background. It made me chuckle though.

The central performance of Otis, by Bostin Christopher, was pretty good too. At times a little monotone, and predictably temperamental, it does get better as the film moves along when he is allowed a little more freedom in which to expand the role. It isn't however anything we haven't seen before.

This is a well made movie that is great to look at, it has a cool 80's soundtrack and it fairly brutal in places. My problem with it though was that it leaves too many questions unanswered for me; a little more backstory certainly wouldn't have gone amiss.

Otis isn't a perfect movie but it is fun, a decent mix of comedy and violence that thinks it is a little more clever than it actually is. Saying that though I do recommend you check it out as you will get more than a few laughs out of it. It is certainly one of the better, but far from the best, examples of blending horror and comedy together.

Rating 3 stars (out of 4)

Review by Jude Felton


Anonymous said...

3 out of 4? I saw this movie and just couldn't really enjoy it all that well. Plus, that horrible ending?

I'm not sure if you got the same type of advertising that I got, but they advertised it as "the juno for horror fans" which was way off in all sense of the word.

I'm not sure if i'll watch it again to see if it wasn't as bad as I originally thought.

Lord of Filth said...

I never saw Juno, and have no idea what it was about