Chances are, you've probably been subjected to at least a few of the lemming-like teen slasher films and comedies that have infested theaters following the success of Scream, Varsity Blues, and others. These movies tend to be dispiritingly similar, which makes it surprising to find a teen horror-comedy that seems to have been inspired by something other than the previous weekend's box-office grosses. Gory, fast-paced, and enthusiastically stupid, Idle Hands tells the story of a lazy stoner (an effective Devon Sawa) whose hands become possessed by the devil. Under the influence of his malevolent appendages, Sawa murders his best friends (Seth Green and Elden Henson, who both turn in brilliantly low-key performances), kills his parents, flings his cat out the window, and still finds time to get high on a regular basis. Director Rodman Flender began his career working for Roger Corman, and one of the things he seems to have picked up from Corman is the idea that horror-comedies should be fun: not post-modern, not snarky, not glumly effective, but gory and fun in a midnight-movie sort of way. The spiritual descendent of Bucket Of Blood, Little Shop Of Horrors, and the Evil Dead trilogy, Idle Hands is both a gentle spoof of and a loving homage to the demonic-possession genre. Loaded with smart sight gags and endearing secondary characters, it effectively mixes slapstick splatter and deadpan satire. Not everything works, and a few of the subplots seem unnecessary, but overall, Idle Hands' gleeful, sweet-natured sadism proves to be pretty damned irresistible.
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