Video | Review by Dan Taylor
horror/comedy combos these days have a tendency
to lean a little more towards the "comedy"
end of that equation. Come on, were there
any scary moments in any of the HOUSE flicks,
TALES FROM THE CRYPT (other seeing Corey
Feldman AND Dennis Miller have millisecond
career revivals?), the entire RETURN OF
THE LIVING DEAD series, or FRIGHT NIGHT?
And while I might be a big fan of NEAR DARK
and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, they feature more
of that hip, ironic comedy that all the
kids love today, not real laugh-out-loud
gut-busters to go along with the scream
at the top-of-your-lungs busted guts.
So, I was pretty jazzed when
the wild and whacky Rodman Flender was pegged
to helm IDLE HANDS, a teen-horror/comedy
for the dazed and confused high school generation.
In other words, THE HAND MEETS BEAVIS AND
For those of you just slightly
out of the loop, Flender has been one of
our favorite up-and-comers in recent years,
Flender-izing such offerings as THE
2 and TV's 'Party of Five'! For the
first time in a loooong time I figured I
had a reason to be excited about horror
Unfortunately, IDLE HANDS
had the misfortune to be released within
a week or so of the national freak-out that
took hold when two teenage misfits opened
fire in their Colorado high school and talied
a pretty a miserable kill rate before they
tasted the business end of their own guns.
Good riddance. Suddenly, a movie about murdering
your high school classmates wasn't quite
But enough about teenage angst
surfacing as homicidal rage. How's the flick?
Anton (Devon Sawa) is a bored stoner whose
folks (including dad Fred Willard) fail
to see that their once-cute kid has turned
into a doped-out, go-nowhere loser who sits
around smoking bowls out of his asthma inhaler
while he listens to heavy metal and watches
cartoons. (Wait a second, that sounds like
my college years if you just change that
to "skinny drunk who lays around sucking
back cheap beer and screw-cap wine while
hardcore punk drowns out the screams of
the on-screen victims.")
Anton's chief cohorts in this
merry suburban world are his buds played
by Seth Green and Elden Henson, the new
Abbot & Costello if I've ever seen 'em!
These two appear to be even less motivated
in life than Anton, if that's possible,
though they do have a mean collection of
This strange brew of a concept
(apologies to the Mackenzie Brothers) comes
to a rather bizarre head when Anton's parents
turn up quite dead in a loving homage to
'American Gothic' and all the clues point
to their dazed offspring. When his pals
have the misfortune of being there when
the bodies are discovered, Anton's possessed
hand takes over and whacks his friends ...
who promptly rise from the grave and continue
their wise-cracking ways.
Oh, and did I mention that
Anton's also got a crush on the neighborhood
bitch ass, the lyric-writing, exotic-looking
hottie played by the cute-as-a-button Jessica
Alba (now starring in FOX's DARK ANGEL)?
Well, he does, and that leads to much whacky
hijinks as Anton pursues the boner-inducing
Alba while he tries to keep his hand from
killing her and everybody in the
The culmination is the high
school's Halloween Dance, where Anton, Alba,
his zombified pals and some other characters
that seem written in or cut back (Vivica
A. Fox as a demon chaser and Jack Noseworthy
as her Todd-like, metal-loving tag-along)
all meet to the sounds of The Offspring.
Schizophrenic and mediocre,
IDLE HANDS is almost instantly forgettable,
except for Alba's appearace in bra and panties
towards the film's conclusion. Not worth
the price of a full rental, but catch it