Written by: jmh314
One of the best experiences when watching films is when it's all over and you can just say to yourself "wow that was a fun movie." You realize it wasnt the greatest movie of all time but you dont really care about it's short comings because it was an all around fun ride. Thats how I felt when the film Otis was over. I was extremely entertained because of a fun quirky story and great characters. Not too many horror satires have made the impression on me like Otis did.
Otis is the story of Otis Broth, a lonely man who just wants to go to the prom. His identity isnt known to the public as they only know him as "The Kim Killer", a mysterious figure killing young girls and fantasizing their name is Kim. He pretends his victims are named Kim and he builds up a fictional story with them leading to them going to the prom together and having sex. When the girls dont cooperate, the quiet and reserved Otis lets his temper out and bad things happen. He's quite yet creepy, but when you piss him off you see how truly demented he is. The only person who Otis is afraid of is his brother Elmo who has no clue of how his brother fills that lonely void in his life.
The Lawson family sees the story of The Kim Killer on the news but like most Americans think "this will never happen to our little girl." How wrong they can be. Their daughter Riley is kidnapped by Otis after he fell in love with her while delivering a pizza to their house. Otis chains Riley in the room like his other victims but Riley turns out to be more cooperative and plays along with his stories. Meanwhile the FBI is trying to track Otis from the Lawsons house when he calls to talk to the parents, but the stumbling Agent Hotchkiss is continually messing up. When Otis slips up and Riley gets free, it is now a race between the Lawsons and the bumbling FBI to find and catch Otis. But if the Lawsons find him first, what could they possibly do to stop this 300 pound menacing lunatic?
The story was basic enough and moved along fairly well. It is helped along with some great music, possibly one of the best musical scores I have heard from a horror film in a long time. The music really helped set the pace of the many scenes and added a realistic element to the film. There are a few plot holes that are easily noticeable but you can forgive them as the story moves along well and sticks to the point.
The acting by far carried this film. The characters were all different in their own ways and I think they were very well cast. Daniel Stern was great as Mr Lawson, Rileys father who avoids confrontation at all costs. He is counter balanced with Illeana Douglas playing Mrs Lawson who is a very headstrong wife pushing her husband to be more stern and express his anger. Kevin Pollack was surprisingly effective as Elmo Broth, Otis' brother. He had a very small role but he brought some pretty good intensity to the brother who is ashamed that his brother does nothing with his life. And finally I must mention Bostin Christopher as Otis. He was able to create a character that was disgusting and psychotic yet make him quite and lonely to make the viewer both sympathetic and repulsed. The whole cast worked well together as everyone seemed to act of each others characters. Bostin leads the charge with his great performance but the rest aren't far behind.
The film used it's special effects quite well. The gore was slight but effective as nothing was too over the top for the circumstances. The sets were great as Otis' dark shed is turned into a creepy prom dance floor. And as previously stated the sound was great as the musical score provided realism to Otis' deranged fantasy. Director Tony Krantz ties all these aspects in the film really well and got the most out of his actors to really make the human elements fit with the surroundings.
The only real negatives I have on this film are that it was sometimes a little choppy in it's editing, cutting from some scenes unexpectedly quick. It was most noticeable when a scene change was made with a good song on and the son abruptly cuts with the scene. I also like that while they mentioned who the real Kim was, they didnt explore it to far. Otis obviously has something for the real Kim to call all his victims by that name, but it is briefly touched upon. It could have been explored a little deeper to fully rationalize the story but at least they gave some explanation. And the only character I didnt like was Agent Hotchkiss by Jere Burns. I know he was meant to be a bumbling slimeball, but I found him just a little too annoying to make the character effective.
The few shortcomings in the movie arent enough to change my mind that this film was a lot of fun. The whole film just worked, from the story and music to the characters. I loved the interactions between characters, especially the Lawson family when the goings get real tough. Top notch acting by familiar faces really helped keep the story moving. After watching this I cant honestly picture other people in some of the roles, the casting was that spot on. The story has a fairly good ending and leaves the door open for a sequel.....or does it? It's really in the hands of the viewers and I like when a films ending doesnt reveal too much for the sake of shock.
Overall, I'd say give Otis a view if you are lookin for a good horror satire filled with great acting that drives the story. Otis's twisted fantasies felt all too real because of the people involved but it kept enough humor and satire to make the film stand out over otehr similar style kidnapping films. It balances the fun and the creepy and is all around good time that left a smile down my face and a shiver down my spine. It's not everyday a small horror film like this one comes around, but when it does you are sure not to forget it.