MAY 24, 2008
There's a reason why so few horror-comedies work - a lot of people just simply can't write funny stuff. Actually scaring an audience is something so rare for a horror film, it's hardly an issue anymore. So when a movie like Botched attempts to wring laughs out of the umpteenth "Robbers and hostages unite to fight a common enemy" horror movie, and pretty much fail miserably, the result is a film that really isn't worth much of anything, though I should point out it does have its fans (such as HMAD reader Damian, who recommended it to me months ago.), somehow.
On the positive side of things, it's a well made/shot film, and despite a rather confusing geography (the entire movie takes place on a single floor of high rise, and I never could get the general idea of the layout), it's edited together quite well. And the pacing is never really an issue - it may not be very interesting a lot of the time, but it moves along all the same.
But that's really all I can say about it that can be considered positive. Otherwise, it's, well... botched. It's never funny; I think I smuckled (that's a smirk crossed with a mild chuckle) maybe three times during the entire film. The horror elements are rather weak, after the first kill (which is presented mysteriously, leaving the audience to wonder if its a supernatural force or not) the carnage is incredibly bland and half-assed (one kill is off-screen entirely, which is fine for a big body count movie, but not one with only like six kills, two of which are just shootings.
The problem with the humor is that the characters aren't actual characters, they're caricatures. Stereotypes. We get the nerdy meek guy, the good hearted criminal, the tough girl hostage who will fall for our good hearted criminal, etc, etc. The reason films like Shaun of the Dead and Severance work is because they are well developed characters you care about. And that's why Shaun simply asking if anyone wants a peanut is 10x funnier than the best joke in this film, which is about a guy getting angry over a sandwich (and that was only funny because I have a strange affinity for the word sandwich - it pretty much makes me laugh in any context). This movie's idea of high comedy is misspelling the subtitles that accompany a character whose mouth has been injured (so like "Move!" is spelled out "Mooof!" - which doesn't even make sense when you think about it, why even have the subs at all if they aren't going to translate his muffled delivery?).
The film also has the absolute worst "cut off hand" prosthetic I have ever seen in a motion picture. Not only does the stub look incredibly fake, but the guy's arm is noticeably LONGER after the hand is lopped off, not to mention a fairly visible bulge where he is hiding his real hand. When you don't have a good makeup effect, just skip the gag entirely! It's not like his lack of a hand has any real bearing on the plot; it could just as easily have been broken or something.
Stephen Dorff is the star of the film, and I feel sort of bad for him. He used to get good roles and star alongside top tier actors, but now he's relegated to this sort of junk. He's fine in the movie, but since he's playing the "straight man" to the alleged comedy around him, he becomes sort of a non-factor in his own film. Dexter's Jaime Murray, playing his eventual girlfriend, is sexy enough to keep you interested, but it's not even nearly enough to warrant a recommendation of this dull by-the-numbers entry in the increasingly prolific "Gore and laughs" sub-genre.
What say you?