October 27: Idle Hands

movie reviews

I think you’ll agree, dear reader, that there are few things in this world as fun to watch as possessed hands. It’s hard to think of a more enjoyable movie moment than Ash doing battle with his own hand in Evil Dead 2. They’re not all winners, of course- I can fondly recall being bored to death just waiting for the hand to do something in The Hand.

Idle Hands is one of the good ones. Anton is a lazy stoner whose hand, for no obvious reason, becomes murderous. It kills his parents and his friends and some cops…just about everyone it comes in contact with, really. So, much like Ash, he decides to lop it off at the wrist. This, as you might expect, frees the hand and gives it the opportunity to rip the scalp off of Dexter Holland of The Offspring, who, by 1999, really had it coming.

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The Last Exorcism Part II: Electric Boogaloo

movie reviews

It is a genuine shame that there’s a lag between the time a movie is released and the time the RiffTrax for that movie is released. Because if there was ever a movie deserving of such immediate attentions, it is The Last Exorcism Part II.

The movie opens up where it left off- literally. Like a serialized TV show, it begins with a confusing montage of the first film. During this last-week-on-The-Last-Exorcism nonsense, I realized that (with the exception of a giant CG fire demon) I had almost no memory of the first film at all. That probably was a good thing, though. Nell is trying to get over all that shit now; there’s no sense in me drudging up the past.

So Nell has moved into a halfway house for friendly teenage girls in a G-rated re-imagining of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. She’s exploring the world with new eyes since her whole town ate it in a big way at the close of the last film. Unfortunately for her, Abalam, her demonic admirer, is totes still into her and is trying to bring her back over to the dark side.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a movie with a higher number of cheap scares. I reckon it averaged close to four per minute. Every time Nell turned around, a window was breaking, someone was screaming, a car was exploding, or a door was being shut rather too firmly. It was nerve-wracking at first, but it quickly grew to be hilarious. I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. For serious. One of the scares was a gorilla throwing a tire. That’s a spoiler. I’m not even kidding.

There was a strange anti-pagan subtext to the movie. It was very obvious that Nell was exploring this world her father had so carefully protected her from and was turning against everything she knew in the process. Her clothing became more revealing, she stopped wearing her crucifix necklace, and she started kissing boys. She decides that Abalam wasn’t actually real and kind of turns her back on Christianity. When her problems don’t go away, she receives some help from some kind voodoo practitioners, but that doesn’t turn out so well, either. The confusing thing was that it seemed as though the movie was simultaneously pro-Christianity and anti-Christianity. I’d say it was a commentary on the futility of organized religion in dealing with spiritual problems, but it wasn’t. It was just confusing.

So why did I see it? Well, I landed some pre-screener tickets to the new Evil Dead remake, but, even though I waited in line for an hour, the theater reached capacity before I got in. It was either go big or go home. I chose the former. You should, too. The Last Exorcism Part II is a must-see, but not for any of the reasons its creators intended.