Shelf Space: "Idle Hands" Blu-ray Review
Director: Rodman Flender
Writers: Terri Hughes, Ron Milbauer
Starring: Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba, Seth Green, Elden Henson
Company: Image Entertainment
"The touching story of a boy and his right hand". No, this movie isn't about what's written in your diary, you freak. This story belongs to your friendly neighborhood burnout named Anton (Devon Sawa- Final Destination, Slackers). All Anton really asks from life is to be able to get bombed out on the Devil's lettuce and sit with his friends (Seth Green/ Elden Henson). His buzz comes crashing down when he discovers his right hand has become possessed by a force with murderous tendencies. Accompanied by his eventually undead friends (to which has a nonsensical, bad ass explanation), Anton must do everything in his power to stop the hand from killing any more people, including his new found girlfriend, Molly (Jessica Alba- Sin City, Fantastic Four).
As a "Roger Corman Film School" alumni, Director, Rodman Flender has a clear understanding of how to balance splatter-tastic kills and beautiful teens in heat. But this 1999 slasher-comedy came out of the gate tripping over its own feet. Frankly, it was a critical chew toy- being dismissed for its outrageous violence. Most will chalk up the film's ill reception to the fact that it's release was poorly timed with the tragedy of Colorado's Columbine High School. Within recent years, "Idle Hands" has seemed to find its audience and be accepted as a light-weight cult piece. As it should. The laughs are well deserved with bat-shit-crazy physical comedy paired with a witty stoner tilt.
Familiars of the "fringe flicks" over at Image Entertainment have released this on Blu-ray just in time for the spooky season.
The first thing to rattle your senses on this 1.85:1, 1080p transfer will definitely be the preservation of the potent 90s color wheel. I'm in love with the intrusive saturation present in movies like this and others of its time (Go, Run Lola Run, Hackers). Detail is very present under the heavy green and red gel lighting with no offensive edge enhancement or artifacting. Unfortunately, the darkened scenes will swallow up a lot of detail with some frequent heavy graininess to boot.
Delivering a DTS-HD 5.1 format, It starting to seem like I can count on Image to deliver a consistent and safe mix for my precious ear-holes (not to get too scientific on you). Dialogue holds its place with a clear and convicted mix. No power struggles amongst the layers seem to occur. Each quirky splatter and stabbing effect is well established. No surprises here. It's worth mentioning that "Idle Hands" has an excellent sound track ranging from Rob Zombie to Rancid. There is even some screen time for Cali-punkers in The Offspring where we get to watch frontman, Dexter Holland, get his SCALP RIPPED OFF.
As consistency can help this company, it can also hurt them. We have another release who's lost any supplements to the Image release. It's a shame- I've actually heard really good things about the commentary with Director Robert Flender, Seth Green, and Elden Henson. In the age of digital streaming, I think it'd really be in Image's best interest to go the extra mile. They'll discover its worth pretty quickly-- Just look at their sister company, Criterion.
Should I buy it?
"Idle Hands" is great. Personally, I think its hilarious. But I'm just not sure if I can completely sign off on this release. Not until the price comes down a little perhaps. The picture quality isn't a huge jump from DVD releases (which have supplements like commentary available). I've been having quite a bit of fun with the titles Image has been putting out recently, but I wish they'd perhaps put a tad bit more "TLC" into it. NOT THC YOU DAMN HEATHEN.