Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 October Horror Movie Challenge Movie 76: Repo: The Genetic Opera

Movie musicals are a mixed bag for me. I love music and I love singing along (though my voice has been known to crack windows and scare small children and animals) but when moviemakers try to film characters walking around bursting into song at random intervals, it tends to grate on my nerves. Thus, while I love music, I don't always like musicals. When I heard about this movie, a mixture of graphic novel and musical and bloody gory horror movie and dystopian future fantasy, I gave the whole concept the stink eye and avoided it on principle. I finally watched it the other night, and I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, the music is good in this movie. I didn't mind hearing the characters burst into song because the songs didn't make my ears bleed in the first place. Second, I loved the feeling of unreality shrouding this movie. Comic book panels dissolve into a colorful yet dark and gruesome future world fantasy where people can obtain artificial organs that allow them to beat disease and cheat death, but this comes at a high price, and if they can't afford to make payments on their organs, well...yeah, you saw this already in "Repo Men," I know, but it works here, too. It's scary because I can see this happening in the future. I saw a news story recently about a lab developing artificial organs and I felt my skin go pale because that nightmare future world suddenly seemed much closer than I wanted it to seem.

The acting here is excellent as well. Anthony Head is great here as the grieving father who does the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bit, switching between his two personalities as he tries to take care of his daughter one minute and performs his gruesome job of harvesting organs the next. Alexa Vega (yes, LavaGirl) is sympathetic as the longsuffering daughter who has to stay cooped up in her bedroom because her overprotective father tells her she will die if she goes out into the world. Paul Sorvino is the heartless man who owns the company responsible for making the artificial organs. Most people bitch about Paris Hilton in her performance as his daughter, a shallow twit who is addicted to plastic surgery and drugs, but I think it's the perfect part for her and she works well in it.

The gore in this movie is pretty nasty and the effects are well done. Over-the-top at times, but it works within the framework of the movie. I also loved how characters were introduced as we met them and we got a glimpse of their backstory, seeing how their lives intertwine and learning the truth about past events that help us understand what's happening in their lives now. Very Charles Dickens, that. the movie is splashy, gory, creepy, and cool. I loved it.

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