Idle Hands

08/25/2019 13:56

Film: Idle Hands

Year: 1999

Director: Rodman Flender

Writer: Terri Hughes Burton and Ron Milbauer

Starring: Devon Sawa, Seth Green and Elden Henson



This was a film that I remember watching when it first hit the movie channels. I remember Devon Sawa being in films as a young man and seeing him here was part of the draw along with Seth Green and Elden Henson. I will admit, I had no idea who Jessica Alba was, but I fell in love with her after this. It was awhile since I’d seen it, but I remember it being fun. To get into this, the synopsis is a teenage slacker’s right hand becomes possessed with murderous intent.

We start this off around Halloween. Anton Tobias’ (Sawa) parents are settling into bed. They are Fred Willard and Connie Ray. They hear something and it spooks the mother. She wants her husband to check it out, but he thinks it is just their cat. They turn the lights off and on the ceiling it says, “I’m Under the Bed”. They check and there’s nothing there. The two of them are murdered.

It then shifts to the next morning. Anton wakes up in his attic room and heads downstairs. He doesn’t notice the blood around the house and just goes about his day. He doesn’t really go to school and he’s a pothead. There’s a news report about murders in their town, but with his headphones on, he doesn’t hear it and switches over to cartoons. He smokes the rest of his weed and calls a buddy to see if he has any. He is told to come over, but he doesn’t want to move. When he finally does, he goes across the street. His friends are Mick (Green) and Pnub (Henson). A girl returns home, Molly (Alba) and drops a notebook. He picks it up and returns it, fleeing without talking to her out of shyness.

He’s told by his buddies, who actually didn’t have weed for him, that he can get high off mixing nutmeg and oregano. He does, but all it does is make him sick. He tries to make a sandwich, but finds a bloody knife. He thinks that the killer is in the house and he’s right. Mick and Pnub come over and discover that Anton’s parents are dead. They think that he might be the killer. It actually though is his possessed hand. He kills his two friends and ends up going over to Molly’s. His hand comes on to her and she’s vibing him. Her parents come home, so they make plans to go to the dance the following day.

Anton needs to figure out how to cure his hand before it is too late. Debi LeCure (Vivica A. Fox) might be able to help, as she’s been after this evil. Can she get there before it is too late and The Hand completes what it is trying to?

Now I have to admit, I’m glad I finally revisited this film as it is definitely is a lot of fun. It is really playing off the old line, ‘Idle Hands do the Devil’s work’. Because he’s such a slacker, it has possessed him and doing all of these bad things. He doesn’t remember doing any of it though. It is a great stoner film on top of that and is quite hilarious if I’m honest. Due to this, I’m a little bit forgiving of some of the things that happen as it is part comedy. This comes into play with the death scenes for sure. There are ritual things that happen in the film as well as referencing to Satanist which was something that else that I really dug.

There are some great references in this film to other horror films. One is this film is part An American Werewolf in London in that Mick and Pnub come back to influence Anton. They are zombie like though as everyone can see him. It is interesting that the is that films is dark comedy as well. I also got vibes from the school dance scene of Carrie as The Hand is killing people there as well.

Molly falling for Anton is actually an issue I have though. He literally does nothing and has no redeeming qualities and she is just into him. I get that it is a movie and I get that they need for this to happen to raise the stakes later. I just feel like having a back-story of some kind here that like she’s been crushing for a while or something along those lines. Just something that struck me.

With that said, this film is paced really well. It gets right into it and we meet the characters soon after, establishing everything. I never found myself bored and I think that it really moves along building tension as we go to the climax of the film. The ending is a bit anticlimactic, but I love that it is. A joke is made about it by Mick and it works so well. It is a fun film that knows what it is doing and I really can appreciate that.

The acting I think is pretty solid for a movie like this. Sawa just plays this role so well and he is quirky so that it works. Green and Henson are both good in their roles. They also just seem to embody it and I dug it. Alba is gorgeous, seeing half naked a couple of times was worth it. They really didn’t build her character much though and I think that’s a misstep. It was fun to see cameos by Fox, Jack Noseworthy, Sean Whalen, Nicholas Sadler, Willard, the band The Offspring and even Kelly Monaco, with the last one having her topless. The cast just rounded out the film for what was needed. I do have give props to Christopher Hart, who did work as The Hand here as well.

As to the effects, I wasn’t sure how they were going to hold up. The practical effects are good, like how Anton’s arm looks. On top of that the make-up for both Mick and Pnub, especially the later as he is headless. There were a couple of times with CGI with the The Hand that doesn’t hold up, but that’s very little of that. I was actually quite impressed with the effects here and the film was shot very well.

The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. The score was really good for me. It feels like a blend of the 90’s and with the upcoming 2000 as this came out in 1999. I liked to see The Offspring appearing at the school dance and doing a cover of The Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’. It just fit the film and works to build tension when it needed to.

Now with that said, don’t come in expecting a great film. This is a fun horror comedy that knows exactly what it is doing. I like the idea of Anton’s hand becoming possessed and committing these murders. It is such a stoner film and blended with these horror elements very well. I thought it is paced in a way where it doesn’t get boring at all and I liked that. The acting is pretty solid across the board and the women are quite attractive. The effects are mostly practical with CGI sprinkled in, but I think it is strong for the most part. The soundtrack fits for what they needed and I really liked it if I’m honest. It has songs I actually listen to regularly still. I find this to be a good film overall and would definitely recommend it to horror and non-horror fans alike.


My Rating: 8 out of 10