KIDNAPPING. TORTURE. LAUGHS.
Review by Kerr Seth Lordygan
“Otis” is a silly romp that light-heartedly addresses what might happen if one’s daughter was kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer. Fun, right? Creepy Bostin Christopher plays Otis Broth, a pizza delivery guy with a hobby of kidnapping blond teenage girls, chaining them to a bed in a shack in the backyard, calling them Kim, asking them to go to prom with him and to do cheers for him in a cheerleading outfit. Not all at once, though. No, that would be creepy. No he kidnaps and tortures one girl at a time, until he needs to find a new one.
Illeana Douglas and Daniel Stern play the parents to their young high school daughter, Riley (Ashley Johnson). When Riley luckily escapes the sadistic psycho, her mother (Douglas) convinces the rest of the family to take vengeance themselves, rather than allow bumbling FBI detective Hotchkiss (played by the quirky Jere Burns) to screw up the case more than he already has. But the scheme does not go according to plan when they mistakenly capture Otis’ older brother, Elmo (Kevin Pollak), instead.
Douglas does a wonderful job creating a character that is as real as can be had in such a “comedy” as “Otis”. We happily cheer her on (not in a cheerleading outfit though…at least not this time), as we watch her motherly instinct turn pain into protective anger. The rest of the performances were solid too, and Christopher’s Otis truly is freaky.
Is it possible to laugh at a film about serial torture and murder? While the film clearly is tongue-in-cheek and has funny moments, one cannot help but be distracted by the fact that these crazy psychos exist and sometimes operate for a very long time without getting caught. But this is what makes moviegoers discuss and remember. And who knows? Maybe it will help convince young girls not to talk to big, creepy strangers in their front yards.
Now I must say that I was very disappointed in the ending. It seemed too quick and easy. Then I discovered while watching the DVD’s alternate ending that director Tony Krantz and gang felt the original ending might be “too much.” Because we have to be sure to not offend when doing a comedy about torturing young girls. Anyhoo, the original ending is far more original and interesting than what ended up on the actual film. So be sure to watch that, too, when renting this one. Yes, it’s more disturbing, but…wouldn’t that be the point? Krantz explains how the crew found the original ending hilarious and difficult to get through without laughing, and yet I was just more disturbed.
Overall, “Otis” is a fun and twisted movie with some very tight comic (and creepy) performances.
“Otis” is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.