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1/21/09

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Stuart Gordon burst onto the scene in 1985 with Re-Animator, one of the most creative zombie films ever made. A film that is as funny as it is disgusting, with great creative twists that forever changed how filmmakers mixed horror with comedy. 23 years later that film remains his high-point, but that doesn't mean he isn't a filmmaker worth note, in fact, just the opposite. For the last two decades he's made quite a few fun horror films including, From Beyond, Dolls, and Dagon.

With his last three films he's hit a new creative stride, moving away from pure horror, into more dramatic work, but still with a deep dark side and a wicked sense of humor. It started with King of the Ants, a film about a young lad getting a viscous introduction to the world of professional killing. (I was lucky enough to interview him when he premiered the film at SIFF.) It continued with Edmund, starring William H. Macy as an average-Joe, who flips a switch and begins to enjoy his life with a new homicidal tinge. Stuck is the third film in which Gordon explores a ordinary people thrust into a dark world, and it may be the best of the bunch.

Mena Survari plays Brandi, a nurse in an old-folks home, whose life is so mundane that a promotion to shift-manager a very big deal. Stephen Rea is Thomas, a guy really down on his luck, he has one of those days where he loses everything; job, house and all his possessions. He's forced to sleep in the park, where he meets a helpful homeless man, who starts to show him the ropes of life on the street. After a night of celebrating for Brandi, and Thomas getting kicked off his park bench bed, they meet in the most violent way possible. Brandi, drunk and distracted by her cell-phone, runs down Thomas. He's thrown into her windshield, broken, bleeding and knocked out. Brandi, fearing the consequences of her actions, drives home with Thomas' half-dead body lying on her hood. She gets home and leaves him and the car in her garage. From here the film is a twisted little piece of genius and by the end you'll be rooting for some sickening actions.

Gordon expertly plays these characters so you're not quite sure what to think of them. At first Brandi seems like the hero of the film, but by the end she is quite clearly the villain. The things she does will disgust and shock you. Poor Thomas goes from a hard to love loser to a quiet action-hero bent on survival. Both performances are neatly crafted, nothing in the film rings false, as horrible things happen because, to and all around them. This is not a film for the faint-of-heart. Once Thomas is Stuck, the film jumps into a maniac gear that is at once hard to watch, but you also can't tear your eyes away. After this film, I have hope that Gordon may yet create a film that outdoes Re-Animator. - Grade: B+

1 Response to Stuck:

  1. Great Review for a Great Film!

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