Otis

Sometimes I feel like the dedicated fans of the misunderstood and often escwhewed genre of horror have an extremely hard time trying not to lose faith in the films they devote themselves to. Perhaps a lot of genres have the same issue that plague the scary movie industry: They are churned out every year at a nauseating pace, with straight to DVD being the most abundant. Most of which are noodle-scratchers that leave you wondering “Why? Who would approve the production of such a movie?”. I remain vigilant though in my quest to find for new and interesting movies.

Otis is just such a movie: entertaining, personable and creative. It, refreshingly, crept from out of nowhere, just when the bins of unfufilling horror dvd’s were overflowing.

Otis Broth, played by Bostin Christopher, is a daft, lovable serial killer and part-time pizza delivery guy. He teases and taunts his victims, and their families, in this dark comedy. Mr. Broth is a big lummox; trapped in a state of arrested development whose m.o. for his crimes are reenactments of a high school prom that he never got to attend. This flick can be compared to Very Bad Things; one the better ‘dark comedy’ movies ever written. Otis soon finds out that he may have taken the wrong, beautiful teen – Riley Lawson played by Ashley Johnson –  this time when, after her adbuction, her family decideds to exact torturous revenge on him.

Fortunately for Otis, however, the Lawson family captures the wrong guy; Otis’ older brother Elmo Broth, played by the hilarious Kevin Pollack. Daniel Stern, also a fantastic role in Very Bad Things, and Illeana Douglas are the Lawsons: Will and Kate. The two of them together make a hilarious couple. For a middle-class, suburban couple, they come up with some rather shocking ways to impart their anger and pain on their victim. I mean, electrical shock in the rectum and the idea of blending Elmo’s toes into a smoothie and forcing him to drink it? Come on, that’s funny. Kate Lawson threatens to “de-bone” Otis. Again, that’s funny. By the halfway point, it’s understandable if you begin to relate to, if not pity, poor Otis.  

Erik Jendresen and Thomas Schnauz team up on this wonderful written, highly entertaining, film. Schnauz is a season writer whose works include big shows like The X-files and Reaper. Jendresen has written many episodes of the widely popular Band of Brothers. Combine those two mindsets and you’ve got Otis.

I found myself, more than once, laughing out loud at scenes that I’m not sure were meant to be funny. If it were my decision, I’d move Otis to the top of your queue if you want a good, disturbing, laugh.

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