by Skylaire Alfvegren | Thu., Nov. 6, 2008 5:00 PM
Review in a Hurry: Bedazzled in blood and soap opera complications, this gothic rock opera features as many sets of on-screen intestines as it does plot points. There are many unpleasant futures to contemplate, but do any of them really need to involve Paris Hilton?
The Bigger Picture: In the not too distant future, organ transplanting is not only sexy but necessary, following an unexplained internal holocaust, and that old Brazil riff on extreme plastic surgery. One icky man—Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino)—has cornered the market on organ transplants; a secret lover of beauty and the bitter, former lover of the heroine's deceased mother, he stages an unprecedented event: The Genetic Opera.
Largo has a trio of bilious, spoiled children himself: a hothead (Bill Moseley), a skin-stealing freak (Skinny Puppy's Ogre) and the daughter who wants to sing at the Genetic Opera, played by Hilton, whose pout is convincing, as is her addiction to Zydrate, a drug manufactured by her father's company and also stolen from the pineal glands of the dead.
The film is an operetta itself. Weird arias courtesy of Blind Mag (Sarah Brightman) add a sexy element to what is a convoluted plot, filled with very little dialogue that isn't delivered in some kind of duet. Mag owes her eyesight to Largo, but was best friends with the mother of Shilo (Alexa Vega). Shilo suffers from a blood disease and an overbearing father (Anthony Stewart Head) who secretly works as an organ repossessor for Largo. Got that?
Director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III and IV) does as much to meld extreme gore, opera and the narration of GraveRobber (Terrance Zdunich, who cowrote the script, and coconceived the entire endeavor) as humanly possible, bringing in much of the Saw franchise's creative crew.
Repo! out-goths—if not quite out-gores—Bousman's previous efforts. Not to say there's a lack of bloody carnage. It's just a bit more old-fashioned. While it's most certain that fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Blade Runner and the Saw franchise will be amused, they may come away having expected more.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Sorvino does sing opera, but he doesn't come across as a devil on par with Hannibal Lecter or Jigsaw. All horror movies need not be so psychologically taut. Straight bloody, futuristic fun with a musical twist, Repo! will no doubt find its niche.