Campy blood & horror movies have always been a sore spot for me. I’m not talking about funny horror films with character like Shaun of the Dead. I’m talking about those movies that have a high amount of gore and little story to back it up. A movie that is played up for lack of acting and focuses more on how gruesome they make the average murder. Troma films immediately come to mind. However, there are times films that from their campy behavior create a story and scenes that are bearable to watch and a good ride on the couch. Perhaps we have found such a film in Botched a 2007 film directed by Kit Ryan. Just as long as it doesn’t turn into another Tripper, I think we will be alright.
Poor ol’ Ritchie Donovan (played by Stephen Dorff). This thieving gig he has is bringing him so much bad luck. After a diamond robbery goes awry, he is sent to Moscow to steal a rare antique cross locked away in an office building. He is given two companions: Yuri (played by Russell Smith) & Peter (played by Jamie Foreman) who are brothers but appear to be heavily in experienced in the ways of crime. They get to the penthouse as planned and make the heist. However, in the process Yuri goes off script and things start to go horribly wrong. A murder ends up at his feet as they head to the elevator to escape the scene of the crime. Once inside the elevator, things only become worse.
The elevator stops and picks up a few people. Yuri sees them as witnesses to the crime and asks them to get off but they do not listen. Soon the whole party finds themselves trapped by the police and the elevator stops on the 13th floor. The 13th floor is an unfinished section of the office building and looks to be in complete disarray. Ritchie, Yuri & Peter decide to take the rest of the elevator’s passengers as hostages and find a safe place on the floor. There they find a way to contact the police who ask for a hostage to be delivered to the elevator. Yuri decides to take one of the hostages to the elevator. However, when he delivers the person to the elevator, he becomes witness to an extremely gruesome display of murder which ends with the hostage being cut in half. From that point, the three thieves realize that there is something greater afoot going on here and not even their own lives are certain anymore.
It isn’t everyday that you see the equivalent of a large pair of hedge clippers chop somebody in half. If this was real life, I would expect to also don a new pair of underwear. Actually at that point, I would run straight into the arms of Anna (played by the sexy Jaime Murray) and call the whole day a wash. Anyway, this movie smells cheap from the get-go. I honestly wondered why Stephen Dorff or Jaime Murray were even in it to begin with. It seemed beneath them in all honesty. But something happened once the cheapness rubbed off and the gore (which is a little more than most casual watchers can handle) was reduced to the bare minimum. We didn’t get a story all so much but we got something we could reasonably watch.
The movie has charm and you end up feeling sorry for Ritchie. The hope here is that he gets to go home at the end of the day (hopefully with the girl in tow). The acting isn’t going to win any awards and the gore is representative of a bad 8th grade science fair presentation, crappy props & all. But there is some human emotion and quirkiness that go a long way. The movie is never really scary, but I found myself laughing at some of the events that went on. I do wish for better direction as there are points in the film that will make you scratch your head as to simple logic that should go on.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I’m not a big fan of the presentation. Sure Jaime Murray looks good, but that takes zero effort. There are quite a bit of problems such as dust and subtle imperfections. It looks B quality but trying to pass itself off as a normal film. This is very disconcerting to the eyes and not a visual feast to say the least.
The audio is provided in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and fares pretty well. The dialog sits in the center channel but is very clear throughout. Despite the Russian / European accents that many of the actors & actresses offer, I didn’t have to turn on any subtitles. Surrounds are also used on occasion making the audio section a little more appealing than the video. Subtitles are also provided for the English, Spanish and French people. (No Russian or German?)
- Automatic Trailers: The Sick House, Otis, Appleseed Ex Machina, Lost Boys: The Tribe, (Corey Haim, are you freaking kidding me?)& The King of Kong.
Botched is far from a perfect film. There is the scent of campy all over the film despite the actors & actresses doing their part to make it something different. The gore can make somebody turn away at an instant and the direction stinks of a college independent film presentation. But somewhere in that film there is something else. Some sparkle, some humor. A little bit to show us that this isn’t a half bad film. The dvd is adequate with decent video and a fairly robust audio track. Despite the lack of extras, there is evidence to suggest that this film just isn’t bad. So perhaps we should sit back and stop looking for a masterpiece. Instead, this film might provide us an hour and a half of material that would be best suited as a lead in for a double feature with Shaun of the Dead. One to see something that just wasn’t quite there and then one that totally gets it. Recommend for Rental and the Bargain Bin.
- DvdVerdict.com “Botched is quirky enough to warrant a rental from the terminally bored, but too scattered and disjointed to be noteworthy for the masses”
- DVDMovieGuide.com – “I don’t dislike Botched because of its gratuitous gore and violence. I dislike Botched because it’s relentlessly stupid and witless.”