Idle Hands Review

Movie: Idle Hands
By: Maniac E
Date: January 5, 2012

The touching story of a boy and his right hand

In 1991, the Milwaukee police made a gruesome discovery in the apartment of a man named Jeffrey Dahmer and soon the entire nation was aware of his grisly acts. That same month a film called "Body Parts" opened nationwide and was immediately blasted because people felt releasing a film with that title at that time was in poor taste. So, the film died a quick death, which is unfortunate, because it’s a pretty cool film. On April 30, 1999, Columbia Pictures released "Idle Hands" into theaters. This was just ten days after the tragedy at Columbine High. "Idle Hands", featuring graphic violence performed by teenagers on teenagers, suffered a fate similar to that of "Body Parts" and it quickly disappeared.

The story:

"Idle Hands" tells the story of Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa), the laziest teenager in America. All Anton wants to do is smoke marijuana, sit on the couch, and watch TV. That is, unless he’s with his friends Mick (the incomparable Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson), then he sits on their couch. There have been a series of murders in Anton’s small town, but he’s just too stoned to care - until he realizes that he’s the killer! Not him, exactly, but his right hand! Due to his laziness, Anton has allowed himself to be possessed by an evil spirit, and it has taken control of his right hand. Anton kills his parents, taking place during the film’s credit sequence, and then kills Mick and Pnub, who come back as the laziest zombies ever. Then Anton realizes that his hand is after Molly (Jessica Alba), the girl across the street whom Anton adores. With the help of his undead friends, Anton must save Molly and find a way to defeat his evil hand.


While the movie often works as a comedy, it cannot maintain this strength for the entire length of the film. "Idle Hands" can’t decide if it wants to be more horror or more comedy and suffers from it. For example, there are many violent and gory scenes in the film that would definitely turn off people looking for a straight comedy. Also, the film is poorly paced. While director Rodman Flender has made a very nice looking film, with many great shots, the film drags at times. Actually, after the violence during the title sequence, nothing really happens for about 20 minutes. Another strike against the film is its odd stance on drugs. At the beginning, we see Anton as a pothead. As his situation grows increasingly dire, he decides to give up pot. But, at the end, pot saves the day. In this day and age, that is a dubious message to be sending to the teens at which this film was originally aimed.


But I am not pointing fingers I take the movie as it is. The gore in this movie is pretty good when it shows it, like the part when someone is scalped....You'll see. There is some good kills too but mostly the camera doesn't show what is happening on the screen which in the end is a shame. So there is a cheapness to this movie but its not in a bad way and it still shows enough to please some horror fans but not all.It shows some homage towards other zombie movies like "Night of the Dead". The music that was used in this movie was a nice collection of 90tees tunes. Devon Sawa is great in the lead role and does some amazing Bruce Campbell-esque things to convey to the audience that his hand is controlling him. Of course, Seth Green steals the show. He’s really shows his funny side in this movie, that at times it seems as if he were in another movie. If you find Scott Evil from "Austin Powers" funny, wait until you see Seth as a slacker zombie.


There is a certain feel to this movie, mixing everything together from real comedy, slapstick and horror. It works in a way that you keep thinking where does all this fit in. For me as horror fanatic it is a laidback movie that you can watch with almost everyone. This doesn't make this movie great. At sometimes you see that there is overacting going on and it basically gets put into the category of the comedy. It doesn't always make it fun to watch.


The movies that I think are weird are the ones where I say to myself, "I can’t believe a major studio paid for this to be made." "Idle Hands" falls squarely into that category and next to their many foreign films, once again shows Columbia’s unparalleled daringness among the majors. While the movie never really finds its balance between horror and comedy, it is fun and very unique. One of the best things about the DVD release is that the box art is a cast photo instead of the incomprehensible art that graced the film’s theatrical poster. Maybe this will help "Idle Hands" to find its audience. The film will amuse horror fans and delight Seth Green devotees, but most of all it will show you that all studio films are not alike.



Idle Hands


Idle Hands


Rodman Flender






Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Elden Henson, Jessica Alba