Amy Barrett (Danielle Harris, Hatchet films) wakes up in what seems like an abandoned hospital, a hurricane is fast approaching and yet it becomes increasingly clear that malevolent forces are inside the hospital and Amy can't seem to make her way outside.
Eventually figuring out that she's stuck in some sort of time loop, Amy realizes that she has to find a way to make it outside the hospital before the approaching hurricane passes or she will be trapped there forever.
Did you giggle while reading the above description?
I sure as hell did.
Co-written and directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, Inoperable approaches this weekend's indie distribution with at least a little street cred having picked up prizes at HorrorQuest Film Festival (Best Effects) and FEARnyc (Producer of the Year, Best Actress for Harris).
There are films that are bad. There are films that are so bad that they're good. There are films that are bad, but they're B-movies and they're supposed to be bad.
I enjoy films that are so bad that they're good. I'm a huge fan of Troma films, so it goes without saying that I'm also a huge fan of B-movies.
To be honest, unless your budget is about twenty bucks I'm not so much a fan of just plain bad films.
Inoperable is a just plain bad film.
There is something ambitious trying to happen here, but Inoperable never quite gels into a cohesive whole. A good portion of the early scenes are devoted to Amy's getting some sense of what's going on, a process aided modestly by the presence of Jen (Katie Keene, ClownTown) and Ryan (Jeff Denton), the latter being a sheriff's deputy who seems to have the most insight early in our journey as to what's really unfolding. Other than these two, plus a semi-kindred spirit in Ophelia (Crystal Cordero), most of the helpers and healers that Amy encounters are pretty much up to no good as evidenced by all sorts of mayhem-inspired medical and surgical procedures typically leading to the film's ample doses of blood n' guts.
The film's time loop theme gives Inoperable a Groundhog Day feeling, though in this case Groundhog Day would likely involve one seriously psychotic groundhog and an even more fractured Bill Murray.
Inoperable lacks anything resembling a sense of urgency, from Amy's godawful and repetitive use of a flip phone in the semi-sanctuary of her car trying to reach help to pacing issues that are present throughout the vast majority of the film.
Indie horror fans will find an abundance of gory scenes, especially of the surgical variety, though the lack of true suspense mutes their impact dramatically. The film benefits from the presence of Harris, though even this veteran of multiple contemporary horror projects can't rise above the film's wooden dialogue and absence of genuine chills or thrills.
Among the key players, Harris is most successful with Jeff Denton scoring some points as the deputy sheriff who tries to come up with some answers to a seemingly unanswerable dilemma.
Inoperable is the kind of film you really want to like. It's certainly a film I kept hoping would come together as co-writers Chapman and Jeff Miller have taken a familiar idea and tried to instill it with some freshness. While Inoperable simply didn't work for me, I look forward to seeing what they come up with for their next time around.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic