Idle Hands (1999)

Handle with care

Director: Rodman Flender
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Starring: Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba, Seth Green, Elden Henson, Vivicia A. Fox

Anton is a lazy teenager, whose recreational activities involves smoking pot and lusting after his neighbour Molly (Jessica Alba). After discovering the dead bodies of his parents, Anton realises they're the latest victims of the serial killer that is terrorizing his town. As it turns out, the culprit is his right hand, possessed by a demonic spirit and intent quenching its thirst for blood and mayhem.

Despite a well shot double-killing which opens the film, the proceedings stumble rather early on. It's initially hard to empathise with Anton, somebody who chooses to watch cartoons and get high, rather than looking into the strange disappearance of his parents. Further scenes do little to build a case for him, as we see him awkwardly making puppy dog eyes at his crush and spend time with his stoner friends.

But when the focus shifts back to the possessed hand, and the insanity of said concept and it's ramifications are fully embraced, that's when the films strengths become apparent. From a stand-off with knitting at the centre of it, to the humorous incorporation of weed into the finale, director Rodman Flender is clearly having a ball. The influence of Evil Dead 2 is rather apparent, as Devon Sawa's exaggerated movements bring believability to the idea he's coping with a possessed body part.

The kills are deserving of praise, as Flender does fantastic legwork to show how dangerous a killer hand can actually be. This includes a scene which shows the effective use of a pencil sharpener, and its results on The Offspring's Dexter Holland.

Despite my misgivings with Anton's portrayal early on, Devon Sawa does bring a likable persona to his role. Seth Green and Elden Henson are utterly lovable, as they help Anton wherever possible, whilst dealing with their own problems. Despite a decent performance as a character shown to be resourceful, Jessica Alba's role can be defined as the "love interest hostage".

The strengths of Idle Hands lies in it's blending of the horror and comedy moments, while also showcasing the effective nature of a demonic hand as an antagonist.