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Stuck

USA/Canada/UK/Germany 2007
produced by
Jay Firestone, Ken Gord, Stuart Gordon, Robert Katz, Christian Arnold-Beutel (executive), Sam Grana (executive), John F.S. Laing (executive), Tim McGrath (executive) for Amicus, Prodigy Pictures, Grana Productions
directed by Stuart Gordon
starring Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea, Russell Hornsby, Rukiya Bernard, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Lionel Mark Smith, Wayne Robson, R.D.Reid, Patrick McKenna, Sharlene Royer, Bunthivy Nou, Suzanne Short, Wally McKinnon, John Dartt, Liam McNamara, John Dunsworth, Marguerite McNeil, Martin Moreno, Lorena Rincon, Mauricio Hoyos, Shuko Akune (voice), Jeffrey Combs (voice)
story by Stuart Gordon, screenplay by John Strysik, music by Bobby Johnston, special effects by Laird McMurray, special makeup effects by Mike Measimer, visual effects by Jon Campfens

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Thomas (Stephen Rea) has lost his job only recently, now he's thrown out of his apartment, the unemployment agency has mislaid his application - and suddenly he finds himself to be a trolley-pushing bum. Brandi (Mena Suvari) on the other hand has just been offered a promotion at the retirement home she's working at, and she parties with her boyfriend, pusher and wannabe-gangster Rashid (Russell Hornsby), but driving home, she's distracted by her cellphone and crashes into Thomas - in such a way that he gets stuck in her windshield. At first, Brandi simply panics and drives home, Thomas still stuck in her car, but once home, when she's about to call emergency, she figures this whole thing might hurt or even end her career and wreck her life - unless nobody learns about it of course - so she just keeps him stuck in the windshield, even though it becomes more and more obvious that Thomas is still alive and could easily be saved.

The next day, while Brandi is at work, Thomas makes numerous attempts to save himself, but to no avail, and when Brandi comes back home, she even knocks him out, then fetches Rashid to aid her. But Rashid is all talks and no action, so he endlessly postpones taking care of Thomas, and when he finally ends up with no excuses and is supposed to smother him with a cushion, he goes about it in such an amateurish manner that the heavily injured man is able to defend himself using a pen (!), and finally gets his hands on Rashid's gun and shoots him dead.

When Brandi comes looking after what had happened in her garage, she is shocked about the turn of events, and figures the only way to get out of the whole mess is to douse everything (including her tell-tale car and Thomas) in petrol and set it afire - but by that time, Thomas has gotten hold of her car and crashes it into her, so she's caught between it and the garage's back-wall. Then Thomas threatens to burn everything down, but ultimately shows mercy towards her - but then she tries to shoot him but accidently sets fire to the garage herself, burning herself along with everything else, only Thomas escapes.

 

The first film of legendary British horror-production-house Amicus after its resurrection - and despite several changes (the most obvious being that this is an American film instead of a British one), it somehow makes sense in the Amicus tradition of old, because just like the best movies from yesteryear, this is less of an all-out shocker and more of a macabre morality tale with even touches of irony.

But Amicus or not, this simply is a really good little film, with the sometimes ingenious but mostly uneven Stuart Gordon turning in a very light-footed directorial effort that effortlessly switches from malicious thriller to outright comedy and back again, carried by a great cast - especially Mena Suvari turns in an eccellent performance as selfish and flawed yet by no means downright evil young woman while Russell Hornsby as wannabe gangster is hilarious - and a wonderfully immoral script that combines an interesting premise with moments of morbid greatness.

Recommendation, actually.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD