DVD Review: Otis (Blu-ray)

Directed by Tony Krantz
Starring Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Pollak, Bostin Christopher, Jared Kusnitz
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 7, 2008

What do you do when you’re daughter is kidnapped? Well if you are Lawson family, why you go and find the kidnapper and exact as much revenge and pain from him as possible. That is the premise of Raw Feed’s Otis.

Set in an idyllic suburban neighborhood, teenager hottie Riley Lawson is kidnapped right in front of her home by a lonely pizza deliveryman named Otis, who has a habit of calling his victims “Kim.” With the FBI being less than helpful in the search for their daughter, Riley’s parents Will (Daniel Stern) and Kate (Illeana Douglas) along with their son Reed (Jared Kusnitz) go in search of Otis, determined to extract some family style revenge.

The movie, written by Erik Jendresen and Thomas Schnauz, is an okay horror film. The acting is good, even with the less than average script, and I have always been a fan of both Daniel Stern and Kevin Pollack, who plays Otis’ angry older brother. I always see Pollack in nice guy roles so it was an interesting turn for the actor in this film, though I would have liked him to tone down his anger a few notches. I also loved the acting by serial killer Otis, played by Bostin Christopher. He plays the part with just enough creepiness and anger to make viewers fear him. I also love the story of a family coming together to take down a killer, a twist that I rarely see in a horror film.

While creative, Otis does have its faults. Otis is supposed to be a horror movie with a twist: it is funny or well at least it tries to be. Lines like “Rectum? Damn near killed him” or “I will feed your entrails to our neighbor’s Shih Tzu” are just one of many “funny” lines uttered in the film and while creative, are hit or miss depending on your level of humor. The movie’s social commentary about how even a seemingly normal family, when pushed, can devolve into a murderous mob misses its mark completely. The film flip flops between serious to oddly screwball that viewers might have trouble figuring out of this movie’s true purpose.

Also, while the Otis character is played to be a sympathetic character, his actions make him less than likable. I don’t know about you but I have trouble getting on the side of a man who would kidnap young women and then rape them. Perhaps they could have played up “the lonely man who just wants someone to feel something for him.”

Otis is not a perfect film by any stretch but it is a decent film and deserves a second look if you happen to be trolling around in a video store. It has enough blood, curse words, and odd slapstick violence to entertain your average horror enthusiast.

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