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Idle Hands

Is that it?

By Erik Blankinship

Is that it?” asks one of the characters at the end of the new horror/comedy film Idle Hands. It is a nagging question that runs through the entirety of the film.

Idle Hands consists solely of moronic horror. The main characters, three high school stoners, take nothing in life or death seriously, including zombies, gore, and decapitation. The wanting plot is an excuse for jokes around and about many staples of stereotypical horror film: unwitting high school students, horny high school students, stupid high school principals, and groping high school dances. And for a film about high school and groping, having a reckless evil hand does allow for some rather funny scenes.

Unfortunately, even with all of the jokes, the film is in dire need of a real plot. The rationale for the “evil hand” is so exceedingly under developed that the film drags on and on once the novelty of it wears off. Scenes involving a “druid hand hunter” are so inane they resemble the worst parts of a bad episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. While the rest of the film is bearable, it isn’t filmed with any finesse whatsoever. When establishing a scene in a fast food restaurant, a montage of dangerous contraptions are merely presented to the audience: the french fry vat, the hot grill, the cutting knives. Visual suspense and timing, which make horror films so enjoyable, are completely lost on this film.

The redeeming aspect of Idle Hands is the actor Devon Sawa, best known as Dr. Evil’s son in Austin Powers. Sawa plays the role of Anton, the high school student inflicted with a homicidal hand. Anton wakes up one morning, lights up, checks the fridge, watches some television, and hangs out for a few days only then to discover that his parents are dead in his living room. The utterly aloof nature of his character is acted out perfectly and rather humorously. Anton’s two high school buddies, played by Seth Green and Elden Henson, also do a great job of playing seriously dopey high school students oblivious to the world around them.