Hallucinations. Dream sequences. The old “I Am Tyler Durden” dual character motif. Flashbacks. Every red herring plot device you can think of finds its way into Inoperable, and just when you think things can’t possibly get any more convoluted, here comes the time loop subplot.
The latest genre flick from Zorya Films and Millman Productions is one of those movies that’s pretty much a puree of about half a dozen different flicks. It’s one part Silent Hill, one part Infection, and one part Carnival of Souls, with a little bit of The Shining and Jacob’s Ladder thrown in for good measure. Of course, this movie isn’t as good as any of those, but it does have a couple of things working in its favor.
First off, Danielle Harris–yep, Jamie Lloyd of Halloween franchise fame–does a pretty good job as our leading lady, who finds herself stuck in a hospital during a Category 5 hurricane. But you see, it isn’t just any old hurricane–no siree, this is a hurricane that just hit a top secret military particle collider, so now it’s thrust her into a perpetual space-time snafu, where all the medical personnel are psycho maniacs with a penchant for highly invasive surgeries–whether the patients signed up for it or not.
Another positive? This one’s got a lot of gore and gunk to go around. You’re never more than five or six minutes away from somebody getting their guts yanked out or their brains drilled open–even if the special effects in this one do have a very Jell-O–like quality to them.
But as for the negatives, there’s quite a couple to wade through. To begin, the supporting cast in Inoperable acts about as well as remedial junior college theater students. Secondly, the plot of this movie just doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. The rules keep changing: One minute Danielle is invisible to the rest of the cast, and just seconds later, the syringe-toting nurses are chasing after her again. So at any given point in the movie, you genuinely have no idea what’s real, what’s false, what’s a fantasy, what’s a hallucination, or even which character’s perspective you’re supposed to be witnessing at the moment.
Needless to say, this movie doesn’t do the whole “Horror Groundhog Day” schtick anywhere near as well as Happy Death Day. The formula gets predictable in a hurry; you have a big scare scene or a sequence where somebody has their innards scrambled and then Danielle wakes up in her daddy’s Stingray waiting in traffic–rinse, repeat, rehash, remicrowave, regurgitate.
And don’t even get me started on the last 15 minutes of the movie–apparently, the director had about six or seven different ideas for how the film should end, and he uses all of ‘em simultaneously. Trying to figure out what that’s all about is like trying to figure out one of those Magic Eye paintings in braille–while wearing oven mitts.
Anyway, let’s hit the movie’s high points, why don’t we? We’ve got seven dead bodies (or is it just one dead body?) No nudity. Stomach slicing. Leg shredding. Back carving. Up-close brain sucking. Syringe to the foot. Intestines roll. Needle to the neck. One involuntary C-section. Throat slitting. Gratuitous nosebleeds. Gratuitous flashbacks. Gratuitous organ harvesting. Gratuitous Evil Dead camera ripoff. Glass shard fu. Scalpel fu. Electroshock therapy fu. And the thing more or less responsible for this movie existing in the first place–some serious bad cell phone reception fu.
Starring Danielle Harris as Amy Barrett, the gal who spends at least 45 minutes of the movie slinking around the same corridors over and over again like Solid Snake in a bare midriff blouse; Jeff Denton as Ryan, the hospital cop who refers to the storm as “the T. Rex of hurricanes”; Katie Keene as Jen, the blonde in a blue dress so short she’s a few millimeters away from making this an NC-17 movie; Crystal Cordero as the teddy bear cradling psych patient; and Chris Hahn as the meathead orderly, who doesn’t get any lines but does get several opportunities to demonstrate his ability to sack pillow cases around people’s heads and drag ‘em away screaming into the night.
Co-written by Jeff Miller (who also penned Hellblock 13 and Head Cheerleader Dead Cheerleader) and Christopher Lawrence Chapman, who also directed, executive produced and probably catered the flick.
All in all, Inoperable is a pretty mediocre fright flick that probably would’ve worked better as an indie survival horror video game than a movie. But it does have a few saving graces–maybe not enough to make it worth going out of your way to see, but a few nonetheless. Inoperable will hit select theaters December 1st.
WICKED RATING: 5/10
Director(s): Christopher Lawrence Chapman
Writer(s): Jeff Miller, Christopher Lawrence Chapman
Stars: Danielle Harris, Jeff Denton, Katie Keene, Crystal Cordero, Chris Hahn
Release: Dec. 1 (limited release)
Studio / Production Co: Zorya Films, Millman Productions
Length: 85 minutes
Sub-Genre: Time Loop / Psychological Thriller / Splatter