Otis (2008) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
Cast your mind away from the current shed of horror movies and try to remember... when was the last time a movie disgusted you, surprised you and even made you laugh in certain parts?
As horror is pressed into one format it is hard to come by horror movies that can be a mixture and still work as one whole article. Otis managed this by not trying to be too serious and showing us the dysfunction in seemingly normal families.
From the start it opened up in a tortured, cruel fashion and quickly took turns not often seen in movies. For that of a low budget affair this is by far why Horror movies deserve and ought to gain more respect.
A golden moment in horror and a film that doesn't try to be serious but instead revels in its own bloody entertainment, helped by characters who we actually understand; it does not fall flat under its own storyline.
A serial abductor/ killer stalks suburban America. So far 6 of his victims have been found and yet he still eludes the police and FBI. Beautiful teenager, Riley Lawson soon becomes his latest victim and must charm her way with him, in order to stop anything happening. Eventually the serial abductor, Otis, calls her parents and they quickly realise the severity of the situation. However Riley eventually manages to trick her abductor and make a break for it, calling her parents in fear of her life. With an irritable and useless FBI special agent hindering them, the family of Riley decides to drastically take measure- and justice- into their own hands. However as usual things do not go according to plan...
Admittedly it starts off slow and takes a while to gain speed but this a movie (honestly) that deserves to be viewed. Once the crunch of the movie takes form, it never let's go and keeps you firmly in its hold.
Possibly my favourite character among many was:
Jared Kusnitz as Reed Lawson- Riley's brother and son of Will and Kate, he was an extreme character but also extremely funny. Originally I actually disliked his character as he seemed rather obnoxious and sure of himself, but when he was pulled into 'family' business we see a rather funny and dark side to the character that gives him a much more desirable likeness. An odd character but vital life was breathed to make him a joy to watch.
For Otis, try to think of a cross between American Beauty and a more refined Last House on the Left and you are just halfway to how strange but inviting this film is.
I have to give due respect to Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas who give strong performances as mother and father of Riley Lawson. Daniel Stern (Home Alone & Home Alone 2) is an actor who barely gets his foot in the door lately and a movie like Otis shows why he should be in more demand. He has enough heart and yet a serious enough edge to make his fatherly character work well and within limits. At times you forget Stern is acting because he shows how promising he really is.
Illeana Douglas is frickin insane! Sorry but she is. Originally she seemed rather cold and cynical, I didn't know what to make of her and worried she might hamper. I needn't have worried. After an initial while of getting to know her character, she delivered the goods in a scene reminiscent of SAW but with dark black comedy laughs. What should have been gross became laugh-out-loud and it is to her credit she pulled that off without appearing like a cartoon cliché.
Special FX / Cinematography: It's hard to say anything of this. It's not perfect and that is rather the intention. This is not an high gloss movie, it's low-budget and tongue in cheek and because of that it can poke fun at the usual areas we take an interest in via horror. The bloody effects are extremely over-the-top but it suits the dark, meagre tone of the movie. Enough blood but also not too much that our imagination takes centre stage.
For Cinematography it stays rather dark throughout. Lots of shots in the dark and dull, eerie rooms from which there is little escape. Decent but not amazing, but that doesn't really matter.
I adored the music! The score and the official songs in this movie from Blue Öyster Cult’s 'Don’t Fear the Reaper' to Paul Revere & the Raiders Baby 'Please Don't Go', I was mesmerized. In an odd, quirky, creepy and funny movie every piece of music seemed to fit flawlessly and the score itself was genuinely chilling without becoming overbearing, a perfect mixture of all the above helped the movie.
There is so much to say about Otis but all that needs to be said is this is a movie that needs to be seen to experience a wealth of emotions. I was shocked, stunned, surprised and genuinely challenged and rarely do horror's get to me that way. That alone made Otis worth the time and energy. I recommend this movie to anyone with a true love for the art of Horror.
Don't believe me? Rent this and see for yourself.
Fantastic and worthy of 8 out of 10. Otis is simply a breath of fresh air...