Tuesday, March 24, 2009


THIS was a fun quirky little movie that I stumbled upon.
It somehow was mysteriously added to my Netflix. I have no clue how. The husband claimed I added but I have no recollection of adding this movie nor have I even HEARD about it until he turned it on at random.
Regardless, it ended up on the cue and we watched it. And luckily it wasn't a waste of time.

Otis is a strange little comedy horror film about a serial killer (named Otis, natch played by Bostin Chistopher) who has a habit of kidnapping young blond high school girls, then killing them when they don't want to cooperate with his little games. He keeps his pretty young things in a locked room and subjects them to such horrors as forcing them to call themselves Kim, dressing up in a cheerleader costume, and making them dance with him at his imaginary prom night. Things tend to go a bit askew when he ends up kidnapping a young girl named Riley Lawson (Ashley Johnson).
Otis contacts Riley's family to continue his ritual of torture and taunting. But he doesn't expect the Lawson family to go off the deep end like they do. After Riley escapes, The Lawson's decide to take matters into their own hands and give Otis a taste of his own medicine. Only things take a turn for the hilariously horrible after Otis' older foul mouthed brother Elmo (played by Kevin Pollak) gets in the way.
And surprisingly enough, all of this is pretty dang funny.

What I enjoyed about Otis was how unexpected it was. The serial killer/revenge scenario is one we're all familiar with in horror but you never really considered how that would all feel if it went horrible HORRIBLY wrong. And it does. BOY does it.
The performances is what makes his movie as entertaining as it is. Bostin Chistopher's performance as Otis is fantastic. He is creepy, pathetic, yet very human and by the end of the movie you begin to see a more sympathetic side of Otis and you almost start to root for him. On the other side of the spectrum The Lawsons are hilariously broad and by the end of the movie they become more horrible than Otis. With Daniel Stern as the wimpy father Will, Illeana Douglas as the blodlustful mother Kate, and Jared Kusnitz as vengeful brother Reed you got yourself quite a trio. Illeana Douglas is definitely a stand out the moment she shouts "I'm going to tear out your intestines and feed them to our neighbor's Shitsu!" to Otis over the phone. Trust me, she's hard core. Another stand out performance is Jere Burns as the smarmy and slimy Agent Hotchkiss, the FBI agent assigned to find Riley. Talk about a bastard. I'm still trying to figure out who is worse, Otis or this guy.
Otis asks the question on who is worse, the serial killer or the suburbanites?

Overall Otis is an unexpected gem. I don't think I'd own the film myself but I found it very entertaining. If you're looking for a different style of horror/comedy to check out toss this up on the Netflix!

And just a quick note on posting. The next couple of days I'll be a bit quiet. I'm heading up to visit my family this weekend as well as getting tons of other stuff done. So hopefully I'll be back on my posting of irrelevant horror nonsense by next week.
Thanks for reading, ya'll!


dragonmanes said...

I hope Netflix mistakingly adds this to a bunch of other people's cues as well, Otis really was one of the better indie films to come out of the last few years, and even though it is derivative of Last House and the new wave of torture porn films, it is very smart and witty. I totally agree that Otis' performance makes the movie though, his subtle nuances generate a level of suspended disbelief unlike many other hero villains.

Cins said...

Dragonmanes>>Agreed. It was a better movie than I expected. It was derivative of Last House on the Left but I think in terms of parody. I felt the film was slightly mocking the torture porn genre. Not completely but there was a bit of tounge in cheek there.
Otis was fantastic. I was really impressed with how real he played what could be a very 2D character in a extremely broad comedy/horror film. Bravo to him.
Glad to see someone else caught this movie!

thebonebreaker said...

Great Review Cins!

Otis is definitely an enjoyable flick, and if I remember correctly the alternate ending is actually better than the one that was used. . .