Wednesday 6 October 2010

Recycled Parts (2007)

Directors: Erick Vega, Bradley Young and Larry Sands
Stars: Girstin Bergquist, David Dartt, Brandon Brendel, Michael Dias, Lisa Gail, Joe Duffy and Larry Sands

We get a naked girl even before we get a title: that has to count for something, right? It really needs to count for something because this doesn't promise to be a very good movie, cool title notwithstanding. There isn't much of a story and what there is gets diluted by three directors and four writers, never a good sign. It's cheesy as all get out but after surviving the first twenty minutes or so I came to the conclusion that it's meant to be and it merely takes that long to get what the filmmakers were trying to do. No, it isn't a good film but there's a really fun one trying to get out, one that would play like something Herschell Gordon Lewis would have made, had he started out twenty years later than he did. It's capable stuff, though that may be stretching the definition of the word a little. Obviously low budget and made by people who had to juggle many roles at once, I've seen a lot worse in every department but I've seen a lot better too.

There are three acts to this play. The first is about a minute long and is actually quite fun. We're in downtown Los Angeles with some fun graffiti, but the TV reporter is there because of the 33 people who have gone missing in the last year, or at least the one that anyone cares about. Most were just transients but Larissa Ann Tate was an advertising executive from Tulsa, thus news. 'What could have happened?' the reporter asks, only to be instantly and violently answered. It's a good enough start, but then we shift over to five idiot kids in a car arguing themselves into getting lost on the way to a cool party. I hate horror movies about five idiot kids hurling insults at each other and I hated this one for a while because that's precisely what we get. There's Rick the driver, the boyfriend of Miranda in the passenger seat. Her brother Alex is in the back, along with Heather and William, who can't stop necking to contribute anything to the film. They all suck.

Now given that I was sent this movie to review, I had to do my due diligence and actually review it. If there's anything I hate more than horror movies about five idiot kids hurling insults at each other, it's people who review things that they haven't seen. That and Horatio Caine. So I sat back and stuck with the movie. During one heated insult session, Rick runs over a woman, a pregnant woman at that, one who's very close to giving birth. None of these morons ring for help and Rick doesn't even want to get out of the car because he might get into trouble, but eventually they persuade him and so discover that the woman is still alive. Enter stage right one strange doctor, one who is never gifted with a name, who persuades them that the best thing to do is to move her inside his house so he can treat her. These are idiots, remember, so they do what he says. They don't ring 911. They move the trauma victim. The house doesn't even look like a house.
Outside, Rick wants to leave to save his own ass. He's a complete sleazeball, of course, but this is a horror movie called Recycled Parts and so we can only presume he's inadvertently stumbled onto the first good decision in his life. Naturally he doesn't listen to his own advice because he's a moron and the flags continue to go up. Everything about this doctor is suspicious, even before Einstein, his apparently retarded assistant, arrives. Now, other than being about five idiot kids hurling insults at each other, the big downside to the film thus far is that it's often pretty dark and so we have trouble seeing exactly where these kids are and what's happening. However, given that it's the height of summer and they stumble into a room with Christmas lights and a huge Christmas tree that has driver's licenses in place of ornaments, it's the only way this could stay even remotely believable, not that it does but at least I can see how they tried.

It was about twenty minutes in that I got it, around the time we learn some stuff from a flashback to Christmas Day in 1977. The people making this movie hate horror movies about five idiot kids hurling insults at each other too. That's why they wrote this one, which is effectively all about murdering those idiot kids in delightfully horrible ways. The doctor is the hero of the piece, not the villain! He and Einstein may begin poorly but they grow, trying to be memorable eighties horror movie icons and succeeding to a large degree. The eventual lack of iconic stature lies in how they're defined rather than how they're played because the characters are better than the filmmakers can make them with the talent they have to bring to the proceedings. David Dartt and Joe Duffy, who play the mad doctor and his retarded assistant respectively, could have had a franchise, had they been in a Wes Craven picture in the eighties instead of this one in 2007.

And this is where the film starts to work. It isn't about great acting or great cinematography, it's not even about a great story. It's about a couple of colourful freaks mangling those five idiot kids and us relishing in it. My favourite moment was when Alex, who has had his legs cut off with a rotary saw, tries to escape and Einstein chases him down. He's not there to stop him. He's there to hold up his legs and cry, 'I'm a helper! I'm a helper! You'll need these!' Watch it on this front and you might just enjoy yourself. This is the sort of film where Alex keeps miraculously staying alive just so they can kill him again. It's the sort of film where they have only one sound effect, though to be fair it's a good one. It's the sort of film where the doctor is supposed to be an organ harvester but he's about as believable as Fuad Ramses as an exotic caterer. Really he's just a cool mad doctor. No wonder there's a drinking game surrounding this movie. It would help.

1 comment:

Brandon Brendel said...

Rick was such a douche!