Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movie Review: Otis (2008)

OTIS - Horror comedy from Raw Feed - movie poster

Written by Erik Jendresen and Thomas Schnauz
Directed by Tony Krantz

Bostin Christopher...Otis Broth
Ashley Johnson...Riley
Daniel Stern...Will Lawson
Illeana Douglas...Kate Lawson
Jere Burns...Agent Hotchkiss
Kevin Pollak...Elmo Broth

A number of girls have been kidnapped by an unknown assailant, who then calls the victim's parents numerous times and torments them over the phone. The girls are kept for a few weeks, and then found murdered at a later date. The authorities have no leads in this 41 day suburban killing spree.

But we know who is behind it.

His name is Otis.

This film is creepy right off the bat, as the lumbering Otis has his latest love-interest chained to a bed in a mock-up of a teenage girl's bedroom. He talks to her on the phone, asking her questions like "Do I make you wet?" and harming her when she refuses to play along. When she finally has enough, she attacks Otis and is accidentally killed in the ensuing scuffle. Now Otis has to find a new date to the prom. Who is the lucky girl going to be?

Otis is a pizza delivery man, and so he finds his next lady friend at one of his stops. Her name is Riley, and in short order she is unconscious with a bag over her head and stuffed in the rear of his hatchback. She awakens in captivity, a prisoner of Otis', and forced to participate in his immature high school fantasies, in which he portrays the football hero and she plays the head cheerleader.

Meanwhile her parents Will and Kate, and troubled younger brother Reed (who seemed a bit too concerned with his sister's underwear, if you ask me--maybe he'll be taking Otis's place in the sequel!) are aided by the cocky, insensitive and incompetent FBI Agent Hotchkiss, who promises he will recover their daughter. Just never mind the fact that he only recovered 60 percent of the last kidnapping victim.

After much abuse--physical, sexual, psychological and emotional--Riley manages an escape. She gives her family the address where she was being held, but rather than go to the police with it, the mother organizes a little search-and-destroy mission, a real family outing. But, of course, these things seldom go as planned.

The strange thing is that it gets more disturbing AFTER Riley's escape. When evil people do evil things, it's expected. When good people do evil things...it really hits you in the gut. Talk about your dark comedies! If they ran the scripts for Last House on the Left and Captivity through a William Burroughs cut-up machine, and the new mishmash was directed by John Hughes, I'm fairly certain that Otis would be the result.

Newcomer Bostin Christopher was very convincing as Otis, simultaneously imposing and creepy in almost equal degrees. Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas as Riley's parents were great, as well, but their characters are on such opposite sides of the spectrum that you wonder how these two ever got married. And as for Riley herself, Ashley Johnson? Damn. Little Chrissy Seaver from Growing Pains is all grown up. With an amazing cast, a great soundtrack, a smart script, and great direction, there's really not much to dislike about this film, which is probably why it has garnered so many fans.

OTIS - Horror comedy from Raw Feed - Ashley Johnson all grown up
Ashley Johnson, all grown up.

Not Rated
100 Minutes
United States

"I hit the man with a shovel! I electrocuted his asshole!"


  1. Im so friggin glad people are starting to see this flick, I love Otis, and I completely agree with the performances, the subtle nuances like Otis' stutter completely sells the character. Really enjoy your reviews man!


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