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Idle Hands

movie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Idle Hands

Starring: Devon Sawa, Seth Green
Director: Rodman Flender
Rated: R
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: April 1999
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: Elden Henson, Jessica Alba, Christopher Hart, Vivica Fox, Jack Noseworthy, Fred Willard, Connie Ray



Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

If it's Halloween, if there's a serial killer on the loose and if you realize that you haven't seen your parents around the house for a few days, worry. Even if you're a stoner like Anton (Devon Sawa), who spends his time smoking pot and watching TV with his fellow wastrels and who isn't used to getting excited about anything, now is the time to be concerned.

And if you're screenwriters like Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer who think a movie full of old fashioned buckets of gore is still fun so long as it's another parody like SCREAM, worry. Genres can be so run into the ground that each one becomes more tedious than the last. IDLE HANDS, yet another teen horror comedy, has all the old jokes you've seen before, recycled one more time.

Let's do a horror movie check list to make sure that Hughes and Milbauer covered all their bases. Severed head? Check. Severed hand? Check. Sex interrupted by death? Check, check, and check. Blood splattering the walls in every other scene? Check. Stupid parents who are quickly eliminated? Check. Romantic female lead who never realizes that she's in jeopardy? Check. Etc., ad nauseam.

The basic set up for this horror flick involves Anton's possessed hand that kills and kills again. With slapstick worthy of a vaudeville routine, we watch his good and bad hands fight. Besides saving damsels in distress, what else does his good hand fight for? Possession of the television remote control.

Trying its best to gross out the audience, the film runs through all of the old horror tricks and tries a few new ones. The best -- or worst of these depending on your point of view -- is microwaving the bad hand as we watch its skin slowly explode, spewing blood all over the microwave. Anton's friends, Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Jack Noseworthy), who at that point in the story are part of the undead, see no problem in putting a package of popcorn right on top of the residual blood. No way are they going to clean house now that they're walking corpses.

So what will pacify Anton's evil hand? "Idle hands are the devil's playpen," he is advised. He turns with brief success to knitting in front of the ubiquitous television. This works until the police ask him to drop the knitting needles. You can probably guess where the knitting needles will end up.

The story's gore quickly becomes tiresome. Worse is the piece of advice that Pnub offers what will undoubtedly be a heavily teen audience, the prime market for these horror flicks. "As usual, marijuana saves another disastrous day," he boasts in the story's conclusion after their favorite weed enables them to gain control of the nefarious hand. Now, there's a message more insidious than the movie's massive violence.

IDLE HANDS runs 1:40. It is rated R for massive gore, drug usage, sex, nudity and profanity and would be acceptable only for older teenagers.

Copyright 1999 Steve Rhodes

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