Blu-ray Review: IDLE HANDS (1999) [Image Entertainment]

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Spoiler Alert Defined: As I do not believe in spoiling anyone’s good time, my film reviews reveal nothing that cannot already be seen by viewing the motion picture’s original theatrical trailer.

“Idle hands do the devil’s work…”

–Kurt Vonnegut

 

Release Dates:

1999

09/03/13 (Blu-ray)

The Gist:

The eerie music sets the scene… but short of the first five minutes, the film is far from scary and actually one the funniest of its time. The director knows it, the writers know it, and now you know it. After all this is writing team that brought us TUCKER and SyFy’s EUREKA (Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes). Act One is about the laziest teenager on the planet Anton (Devon Sawa), his constant search for marijuana, his voyeuristic obsession with the girl next door Molly (Jessica Alba), and an ever present curiosity of why the people around him keep dying in a horrific manner. We also meet Debbie, (Vivica A. Fox) an over-the-top religious zealot slash druidic priestess, sworn to hunt down an evil force that possesses the utmost lethally lethargic person it can find.

The self-realization that Anton is the killer, or rather exclusively his hand, arises after best friends Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) pop in to say hello and get more than they bargained for. His hand violently murders both of them. The hook is that they do not stay dead, claiming that the bright light at the end of the tunnel, “was really far…” Now Anton has two muses that belittle him profusely and give haphazardly advice in equal measure.

The same night he slaughters his two mates, after fighting his own hand over the television remote and slinging his cat out the window bolas style, his hand ends up causing him to play ding-dong-ditch at Molly’s house. One thing leads to another and this is how we get her as a main character and an excuse to go to the high school’s Halloween dance, where more blood and guts ensue.

Will everything turn out for Anton, will he get the girl and save the day, or will everyone die including him? Found out all this and more by… watching the film. The best possible way available is the Blu-ray release by Image Entertainment.

The Verdict:

Essentially a twisted take of an urban legend and Oliver Stone’s THE HAND, this film takes everything three steps further and seems to draw guffawing hilarity from every scene. But too often you’re reminded of Dr. Strangelove in the film with the same title. On the other hand, maybe it was just me. The atmosphere is dense and welcomed. Everything from eccentrically decorated lawns, impenetrable foggy side streets, to a school Halloween dance that even I would attend. This is one of the most viscerally eviscerating horror comedies I’ve ever seen. A few flaws aside, I loved this film back when it was on VHS, and I love it even more now on Blu-ray. A must buy for any collector of the carnage comedy or lover of nineties nostalgia.

“CPR man… I saw it on Baywatch!”

–Pnub

 

The AV:30598_front-235x300

Sadly, there are no special features on the Image Entertainment release. The plus side is that it allows the flick to be encoded at an exceptionally high bit-rate, giving full-bodied definition to a picture shot at a time before HD film; no scratches or motion blur here. It is true to its original theatrical presentation as well. The sound is rich and surprisingly immersive down to every slash, gash, swish and mush. The film’s score and the massive collection of licensed acts such as Rob Zombie, Sublime, Rancid, 2 Live Crew and The Offspring, are all completely lossless.

The Supplements:

None.

The Video Specs:

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (27.85 Mbps)

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

The Audio Specs:

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles:

English SDH

Discs:

25GB Blu-ray Disc

Single disc (1 BD)

Link To Purchase:

http://www.watchimage.com/product/idle-hands/6ed13ee5-6a15-43cd-8c0f-1accaf7def1d

 

 

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Christopher Gibson

Chris can be found only at night, playing vast hours of XBox 360, reading uniquely disturbing novels, and scouring Netflix for late sixties horror flicks. He has 69,000 Gamerscore and counting. Supposedly at the age of three, he beat Super Mario Bros. on NES, though possesses no recollection of this. Writing novels since the age of fourteen, he hopes to one day publish them. On Friday nights, he is seen at the local indie film theater, then the pubs next door shortly after, for thorough critique among friends. Follow him on Twitter @Literaryman420 

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