92 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, April 30, 1999
Written & directed by Rodman Flender
Starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Elden Henson, Jessica Alba, Vivica A. Fox & Jack Noseworthy
SMALL SCREEN SHRINKAGE: 5%|
LETTERBOX: NOT NECESSARY
Can't get any worse on the small screen, but if you can't find something better to rent it's time to get neutered.
VIDEO RELEASE: 8/31/99
'Idle Hands' might be the worst horror-comedy to date
If the director, the writers, the actors and the lobotomized studio exec that greenlighted "Idle Hands" were to spend every day of the rest of their lives being dunked head first into mountains of fresh manure, it wouldn't be punishment enough for making this movie.
Yet another clumsy, shapeless teen horror-"comedy," about a teenage boy whose possessed hand drags him along on a gory killing spree, "Idle Hands" is wholly devoid of taste, wit or even a single creative or interesting moment. The only way this flick could seem any worse would be if, say, the studio had locked themselves into a release date that happened to fall a week after an actual teenage killing spree that horrified the whole country.
Devon Sawa ("Wild America") -- who apparently left his acting skills in his other pants -- stars as a dope-fried, high school sofa slug with devil-spawn digits that kill his parents and his two best friends (Seth Green, Elden Henson), and he just can't make them stop.
Sawa spends the entire picture wrestling with his hyperactive hand like a dinner-theater hack aping Peter Sellers in "Dr. Strangelove."
He tries to prevent the appendage from killing anyone else, especially the eyelash-batting bimbo with plunging cleavage in place of personality (Jessica Alba, "Never Been Kissed") who lives across the street and has been his prefered fantasy material for years. Failing that, he takes a hatchet to his forearm, then the hand is on the loose and makes for high school Halloween dance where it can wreak the most havoc.
Meanwhile, Vivica A. Fox turns up as a Druid priestess (?!?) who knows how to stop the hand, and Green and Henson come back from the dead as dim-witted, wise-cracking zombies to haunt -- scratch that, hang out with -- Sawa as he tries to cover up his crimes.
Under the pathetic and haphazard direction of Rodman Flender (a Roger Corman protegee), each of these previously proven actors turns into a numbskull who can barely read cue cards. The talents that made unforgettagle impressions in "Austin Powers" (Green), "The Mighty" (Henson) and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" (Fox) are nowhere to be seen.
Full of moronic loopholes (why is Sawa's 21-year-old neighbor going to the high school dance?), missteps in judgment (a realistic makeshift memorial to the dead reminds us how unfunny mass murder really is) and entire scenes that serve only to set up fizzled jokes (getting the hand high on pot), "Idle Hands" is never even once funny or scary.
(You may think a movie featuring a possessed hand is, by definition, incaplible of genuine terror or laughs, but Sam Raimi pulled it off to perfection in "Evil Dead 2.")
When this picture bombs (and it will), the gruesome murders in Colorado last week will probably be used as a scape goat by the producers so no one will lose their careers over this pitiful excuse for a movie. But make no mistake, even under the best of circumstances there's nothing redeemable here.