Horror Reviews

Friday, November 14, 2008

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Review by Fallon

How much you're going to love Repo! The Genetic Opera might have something to do with how much you like Evanescence. Or if you're just willing to own up to all your guilty pleasures, without shame and remorse, and, if you go see Repo! with your friends, no conscience for their own enjoyment. That being said, of the five people I saw Repo! with, I was one of two that dug it.

The movie is going to bring the snark, and that's what you have to accept. In fact, I might even pity someone who takes this movie seriously and loves it with zero irony. Regardless, let's start with the good. And the plot.

Set in the near-future, GeneCo has a monopoly on the organ transplant business. The only problem is people can't afford all the transplants they're buying. Here in comes GeneCo's Repo Man, to slice these bill-skipping degenerates up and reclaim their organs. On the peripheral is Shilo Wallace, a shut-in seventeen year old, and her father, the Repo Man himself (unbeknownst to her). On the GeneCo side of the story, we've got a power struggle as the GeneCo founder, Rotti Largo (Paul "the man" Sorvino) wonders which if his jackass children he should leave the company to – Luigi (Bill "ChopTop" Moseley), Pavi (Nivek "Skinny Puppy" Ogre) or Amber Sweet (Paris "Power Bitch/Sex Tape Extraordinaire" Hilton).

Now for the good.

You'll like the opening title sequence. And for that matter, the film's climax. The last thirty minutes of the movie really roll.

There is great gore. For a lot of horror fans, I think this could be enough to save the movie. That, and the undeniable originality of what director Darren Lynn Bousman has done here. Also, Terrance Zdunich, the Repo! writer, who also has a pretty sexy (or very sexy) role as the Grave Robber, has probably stepped up to be someone to watch for from now on.

Paris Hilton fucking KILLS in this movie. Personally, I love the "House of Wax," remake, find it perfectly campy, and think Paris would be genius to keep doing stuff in this niche. Bousman says he himself had skepticism even letting Paris read for the part, until he was totally slayed by her audition.

In fact, all the Largo siblings steal scenes. Moseley is expectedly awesome, but Nivek Ogre almost steals scenes out from under him. Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6KvKajYenE.

Here's the bad. Please dwell, if you will, on the word "Opera" in this title. Nearly all of this film is in song, and nearly all of the songs sound the same. Some work, others – like Shilo's rebellion song against her dad, a real Avril Lavigne inspired number – are just the pits. I lost count of the times where the majority of the audience had their head in their hands at what seemed like pure embarrassment at either bad lyrics, bad scoring or off-beat acting.

I don't think there's any worth in saying Repo! fails at times from plain, old melodrama. That might be missing the movie's point. But something's off. Maybe it's the complete sincerity every character operates under, that make characters like Shilo, seem completely without wit. I'm willing to turn a blind eye and write off a lot of things as fun-bad, but Repo! can get so monotonous that it has forays into BAD-bad.

Everything being said, Repo! is the sort of horror-hybrid best suited for open minded fans. If your number one priority when watching a horror movie is to be a hard-on for movies from the 70s, then just accept this one isn't for you, and stay away. This isn't striving to impress the hardcore fan base with a misplaced legitimacy, or posturing as anything other than what it is. And what it is… is a musical. With a ton of blood, cyberpunk costumes, fresh story, and dark atmosphere. Guaranteed better than Sweeney Todd, but maybe not the cult movie you hoped for.


Bo said...

I go back and forth on this one, but it seems like such a fun idea, as long as the music is good.

thebonebreaker said...

Great Review!

I am one of the poor unfortunate souls who is just going to have to wait to see this one when it is released on DVD. . .

I am looking forward to it though! :-)