Idle Hands


All poor Anton wanted to do was smoke pot and lay about, but when his hand is possessed by an ancient evil, his undead friends Mick and Pnub must help him rescue the girl of his dreams from Anton’s own severed hand.

I only wish my hand had a mind of its own. Can you imagine how fun that would be? Sure, if it started trying to kill all my loved ones I might have a problem with it, but what if my sentient hand was a cool guy and we got along pretty well? I could use it to play fun pranks, get a five finger discount wherever I go, and get past all those pesky video game puzzles that hamper my enjoyment of life. That last one hasn’t happened yet, but you never know and I like to be prepared. I’ve actually thought about this a lot, which I’m sure you think is weird, but I can explain. When people find out you’re a member of the living dead, there’s a lot of questions you get asked, can you control your hunger, what’s sex like, can you even have sex, if you’re blood isn’t flowing wouldn’t sex be impossible (yeah, like ninety percent of the question asked by the living have to do with sex), and if your hand is cut off, will it go about of its own freewill. First of all, that’s just dumb. It’s been separated from our bodies, why the hell would it still be able to function. So, so dumb to think a zombie’s hand is going to come off of its body and just start running around like it’s no big deal. Second of all, only magically created zombies have the ability to control their limbs independent of their bodies, so, um, yeah, I guess not that dumb to wonder. Well, if it’s not dumb, it’s at the very least very lifeist to assume all zombies are the same. I know we all look alike to you, but there are differences which I guess you wouldn’t be privy to having a pulse and all, so probably not that lifeist either. Damn, I was really hoping on getting an insult to the living in here, but that kind of back fired. Might as well get on with the review now so I can go sulk in the corner.

Our film begins on Halloween at the Tobias house in a town being terrorized by a serial killer, and this killer’s two newest victims are Mr. and Mrs. Tobias. The next morning their son Anton wakes up having missed the entire episode, and though he notices their absence, he has more important things on his mind, namely finding more weed. While Anton tries to score with his neighbors and lifelong friends Mick and Pnub, druidic warrior Debi LeCure is hunting an ancient evil, one that murders several people in every town it comes to before moving on, but she always arrives just a little too late. Debi is getting close though, she’s managed to lock down a pattern and figured out where the evil is heading next, and it appears the next stop is the same town where a weedless Anton is trying to smoke odd mixtures having failed to get a bag from Mick and Pnub.  His experiments with nutmeg and oregano are cut short when Anton discovers a horrible secret, he’s the killer, or at least his hand is. When he tries to explain it to his friends, the hand shows what it’s capable of and murders the pair, leaving Anton with four bodies he now has to worry about after he finds the corpses of his murdered parents. Things are bad, but a ray of sunshine presents itself in the form of Molly (played by a young Jessica Alba), a girl Anton has always had a crush on who mistakes him trying to control his hand for romantic interest, so he decides to bury his parents and friends and go about his way, but things are never that easy. Before he can bury Mick and Pnub, the pair return to life having decided that the light at the end of the tunnel was just too far away and going back to their bodies would be a lot easier. Though death works for Mick and Pnub who don’t at all mind being dead, Anton’s worries are only beginning. The hand still wants to kill, the girl of his dreams might be the hand’s next target, and when Debi LeCure comes to town, she makes it clear that she isn’t above killing the host to stop the entity possessing Anton’s hand. With time running out, Anton’s choices are dwindling to one, cut the hand off, but without a body to hold it back, that might just make things far worse than any of them realize.


{Knitting is not going to be enough to save them}

If there is one thing I hate with my drug fueled comedies, or comedic horror movies as the case may be, it’s anti-drug messages slipped in here and there to make us realize that drugs are bad and once you inject a marijuana between your toes, it’s just a hop and a skip to giving handjobs for more marijuana. We get it, drugs are bad mmmmmkay, but if I’m watching a funny movie full of a bunch of stoner jokes, the after school special lessons about the dangers of drug use are in the wrong place. Thankfully, this is not that type of film. They even make sure to let the audience know they aren’t going to go that way. There’s a bit, just a small part of the movie but it sends a message about the film’s direction, where Anton does some soul searching and decides he no longer wants to be a shiftless pothead and is going to make his life better. Before he can launch into a monologue, Mick (played by Seth Green) quickly cuts him off by telling him “No Kevin Costner speeches.” It’s a small part and it’s over in a second, but I loved it because it told the audience in no uncertain terms that this was not going to be one of those movies, this was going to be a cheap, teen comedy about weed, zombies, and an evil hand. Nothing more, nothing less. I love that. It shows that the filmmakers knew exactly what kind of movie they were making, and they ran with it. They didn’t try to make it serious or heartfelt, they tried to make it funny and left it at that. It doesn’t always work out and some of the jokes are definitely 90’s specific so it hasn’t aged particularly well, but it’s still a fun watch for a couple of reasons.


{These are not the people to tell an anti drug tale}

The characters are a major part of why the movie is still so enjoyable, not just the characters, but the actors playing them. If you were a high school kid in the 90’s, chances are you remember Devin Sawa as the guy every girl in school wanted to marry, but he’s also a pretty good actor, even if you won’t be able to see much beyond his performance of “man who is always stoned, even when he hasn’t smoked anything.” It’s not an Academy Award worthy performance, not like those matter much anyways, unless best stoner of the year becomes a thing, but it works for the movie. His attempts to figure things out using his stoner mentality were some of the funniest bits, but he wasn’t my favorite. That goes to Mick and Pnub. The two stoners are hilarious, and their attitudes, while most likely annoying as hell in real life, fit in with the movie’s lack of any seriousness. The only reason they even come back is because heaven was too far away and they were really lazy, no spells or magic, no desires for revenge burning within them, just sheer laziness. It’s dumb, it’s really, really dumb, and I loved them for it. Seth Green (Mick) and Elden Hensen (Pnub, although I have trouble as seeing him as anything but Foggy Nelson after Daredevil) were perfect for their roles. They worked so great together that the pair came across as a singular character. The real star of Idle Hands though is of course the hand itself. “Played” by magician Christopher Hart, who also played Thing in the Adams Family movies, the hand is given a life all its own thanks to the talent of this wonderful illusionist. It feels less like a prop and more like the proper villain it should be, even more so when it gets a little puppet outfit later on in the film.


{I want this puppet}

The FX in Idle Hands is fairly minimal, mainly just off screen deaths that result in lots of blood splatter, so don’t expect to see much. There are a few times the deaths are shown, and they definitely don’t look bad, watching the lead singer of The Offspring getting his scalp ripped off was oddly satisfying for some odd reason, there just isn’t much in the way of gore. Lots and lots of blood for sure, but very little in the way of gore. The makeup for Mick and Pnub was pretty good too, so no complaints there, I just really wish the deaths would have been shown because they seemed like they could have looked pretty cool. Instead we get an implied death where the hand attacks someone, the camera pans away, and then all we see is blood shoot out.


{That’s for making me listen to “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”}

Idle Hands is far from a great movie, but it’s fun, has some decent humor, and some good characters. Just be prepared to miss a lot if you weren’t at least a teen during the 90’s.


The Undead Review


Directed By: Rodman Flender (The Unborn, Leprechaun 2)

Starring: Devon Sawa (Final Destination, Slackers), Seth Green (Austin Powers, It), Elden Henson (Daredevil, The Butterfly Effect), and Christopher Hart as the Hand (Adams Family, Ouicksilver Highway)

Written By: Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer

Released By: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Team Todd, and TriStar Pictures

Release Year: 1999

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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