Horror review: Idle Hands

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 6, 1999

The teen-horror genre hits a new low with this inane chunk o’ junk from Rodman Flender, the illustrious director of Leprechaun 2. Actually, Flender is not the real culprit here; it’s the numbingly bad screenwriting team of Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer. Idle Hands is their first produced screenplay, and, boy, can you tell. Their writing is clunky and amateurish, embodying the wit and style of two 12-year-olds. I realize the filmmakers are aiming for a gore-loving teenage audience, but anyone with the mental capacity to make it to high school will be embarrassed by the ineptness on display here.

Vancouver’s Devon Sawa, who tries to do his best with the film’s hokey plot and rancid lines, is the poor guy in the limelight whose career is most endangered by this travesty. Sawa stars as Anton, a clueless 17-year-old layabout whose right hand becomes possessed by evil spirits because he is the laziest person in town. The film is based on that old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” So now we have to spend 90 minutes watching Anton’s bad hand do stuff like grab his sexy neighbour’s ass, plunge a knitting needle through a cop’s head, and slaughter his best friends (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Seth Green and The Mighty Ducks’ Elden Henson).

Ripping off An American Werewolf in London, the latter two return as slacker zombies to smoke copious amounts of weed, gobble junk food, and crack the lamest jokes this side of Married…With Children. After numerous unfunny slapstick scenes of wide-eyed Anton battling his bloodthirsty mitt, he chops it off with a meat cleaver, and it scurries around for the rest of the film, strangling bare-breasted Kiss fans and mutilating the privates of a high-school principal during phone sex.

In a vain attempt to add some depth to the shallow proceedings, the so-called writers inject a hokey subplot about a pretty demon buster (Vivica A. Fox) who teams up with a Jon Bon Jovi look-alike (Jack Noseworthy) to destroy the possessed hand with a ceremonial dagger. The whole bogus affair winds up at a high-school costume dance, where the singer from the Offspring gets the top of his head ripped off by the hand for performing a wimpy version of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”.

The Green zombie understatedly sums up Idle Hands at the end of the film when, after the dagger impales the hand onto his chest and causes the malicious meathook to disintegrate, he proclaims “This is weak!”

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