Mick: Wait a minute. If you chop off your right hand, how are you going to chop the other one off?
Anton: Oh no, man, the lefty's a keeper. I mean, I guess it wasn't idle enough.
Anton: Oh yeah, I mean, I hit the remote with it, light up with it, relieve a little tension. No, this is the answer.
Zombos Says: Very Good
Five dexterous digits with a penchant for murderous mayhem provide the Halloween scare-comedy hijinks in Idle Hands. Piling on cliches and nuances from movies like The Hand, Beetle Juice, Scream, and most teen-slacker-slasher romps, Anton has his hands (hand?) full trying to keep from killing everybody in arm's length. He is the kind of kid who lives in the attic, spends all day lounging around and smoking pot, and does not worry when his parents go missing until after a few days go by; he is the perfect plaything for an ancient demon who takes the old adage--idle hands are the devil's playthings--seriously, and enjoys possessing those in need of a helping hand: murderously helpful, yes, but still very motivating for Anton (Devon Sawa).
Anton's two friends, Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) are not very helpful when Anton discovers his dead parents. Mick and Pnub are distracted by a booty-bounce music video as he frantically points to the two bodies lying in front of the television. When they finally do notice, they are a bit slow in putting the pieces together when clues point to Anton as the murderer.
His hand takes over before they can tell anybody about it. Anton tries to bury the mess in the backyard, but his dead friends, deciding the distance to the "white light" was too far, and finding the celestial music "kinda uncool, like Enya," not very enticing, decide to come back as his undead friends. They would easily fit into the Beetle Juice waiting room: Mick has a broken bottle stuck deep into his cranium, and Pnub's head is hanging free and easy--but not in that really good way; and both are very zombie-gray and disheveled. They do not hold a grudge after being murdered--finding undeadness kind of cool--and lend a helping hand.
Anton decides his offending right hand must go and finds the biggest meat clever in the drawer after the bagel slicer fails to do the job. Gory sight gags splatter the humor as the now liberated hand takes a fancy to Anton's new girlfriend Molly (Jessica Alba). While Mick and Pnub go for the antiseptic and ouch-less band-aids, Anton tosses the nasty fist into the microwave for broiling--remember the kitchen scene in Gremlins?--but Mick and Pnub, in dire need to heat up their burritos, let it loose again. Unperturbed, they sit down to enjoy their burritos. Mick improvises with duct tape when Pnub's burrito oozes out of his severed neck.
While Anton and his undead, but cool, friends cope, a Druid priestess (Vivica Fox) from a long line of Druid priestesses, is racing to Anton's town in her vintage Airstream touring coach to kick-ass the evil. When she arrives she, of course, heads to the bowling alley. Druid priestesses must stay in shape by bowling. While there she meets Randy (Jack Noseworthy), Anton's friend. Randy's name fits him like a glove. He immediately believes her story about the ancient demon possessing idle hands and tells her about Anton.
Everyone--and hand--meet up at the Halloween school dance for the showdown. The hand, after sharpening its fingers in a pencil-sharpener, is ready to take them all on as it gropes toward taking Molly to hell at midnight; that's midnight Druid time so there's not much time to spare. The desperate battle to save Molly, and stop the hand's plan, moves from shop class, where hand puppets are a natural for malicious use by the hand, to automotive class, where Molly is bound to the hood of a car on a hoist that is edging closer to the ceiling by the second. In the midst of fighting for the hoist's controls, the boys notice "Mighty Joe Bong," a wickedly welded, muffler-styled cannabis smoker--the students in shop class learned their skills very well it appears--and light up for a toke to bolster their strength. In-between, the often used cliches of a people-fitting air vent escape and big whizzing fan-blades blocking the only way out provide the light-hearted suspense.
Christopher Hart lends his handy talents as the nasty demon-possessed hand. He is a natural; he played Thing in the Addams Family films. Talk about typecasting.
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