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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap88.89%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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Suspended Animation
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by Erik Childress

"...As Your Mouth Drops Open At How Bad"
1 stars

At what point does camp travel into crap. When does unintentional comedy cross into satire? How long must you be into a movie until you can officially start laughing at it and not with it? Suspended Animation is like three movies in one, all duking it out for which section is the most ridiculous. The first and third sections actually belong to the same strand but are interrupted, oooh do I smell bacon? Trust me, this is more than just another reference to all things ham-fisted about this film, but a representation of the attention span of anyone who doesn’t have their own personal Crow or Tom Servo to tag along.

In the past year, my need to continue on the tradition of Mystery Science Theater 3000 got in the way of objective viewings of titles like The Order, From Justin to Kelly and Extreme Ops. If you haven’t seen House of the Dead in this ridiculing fashion, you haven’t lived. Of course, that’s an attitude one brings into a film such as that. You don’t expect it to be good and more often than not the experience is a completely satisfying one. It doesn’t rise the movie above the status of celluloid crapcake, but at least you had fun during it. Where exactly Suspended Animation fits, I’m not exactly sure, but I certainly didn’t walk in ready to ridicule it.

Opening in the style best suited for a modern Deliverance meets Misery, animated filmmaker Tom Kempton (Alex McArthur, the poor man’s Michael Biehn) heads off with a couple buddies for some snowmobiling and ice fishing. Why they conveniently later have a pump-action shotgun is a question for the screenwriter/original novelist Dorothy Tristan and not for NRA sportsmen.

When the wussy can’t get his snowmobile unlodged in front of an isolated cabin, he’s welcomed in by the Boulette sisters (Laura Esterman & Sage Allen) who will, in turn, invite him to stay for dinner while he waits for help. Except there’s no help and he’s dinner. For about 15 minutes, Tom is tied up and struggles to get away while the sisters show him pickled penises (or is it “Peni”) and sharpen their instruments. This is before Tom’s friends somehow find him, blast his way out with said shotgun, suffer a similar Deliverance post-squealing fate and somehow cause a massive avalanche that even Scrat from Ice Age would have going “huh, what?

After escaping this ordeal and being satisfied that one of the sisters was apparently eaten by animals (foreshadow finale for dummies), Tom now wants to channel his experience into his next animated film. (When you see the film and its premiere, “Why?” becomes an understatement.) “I hate that woman so much, I need to understand her.” OK, Tom.

So he digs into her history, discovers a nutty brother (“special appearance by J.E. Freeman”) in prison and a daughter that was put up for adoption (Maria Cina). Tom gets in touch with her, an aspiring actress with one brown eye and one blue (like we wouldn’t have noticed without that quick introductory pull-in) that I only assume was in the same spaceship with James Spader and Angela Bassett during Supernova.

Since we all know that psychotics skip a generation, it’s the daughter’s son (Fred Meyers, looking like the offspring of Jim Breuer and D.J. Qualls) who’s a chip off the Boulette legacy. He likes to torture animals and apparently tore the vaginal lips off of some poor victim. “You better take it to the police. It might be involved in a crime,” says the forensics expert who my colleague Nick Digilio said must specialize in helping cartoonists.

The film could have ended with this plot thread at the 90-minute mark with one of the biggest laughs I’ve had all year. A character is stabbed in the jugular with a scalpel and is spraying blood all over the place while dying on the floor. It’s at this moment that Tom decides to take his tazer and give the victim a “take that!” I believe I heard Tom Servo going “thank God I saved you.” Unfortunately, the movie runs 117 minutes and if you haven’t figured out where its headed by now, then this review surely doesn’t live up to Servo’s line.

Suspended Animation is awful in the way you can’t believe an experienced director like John D. Hancock (Bang the Drum Slowly, Hill Street Blues) would allow. It’s so ridiculous, so poorly plotted and acted that your only defense is to start laughing at it. The closest thing resembling the word “suspense” is in its title and even that falls short by a letter (or overreaches depending on how you look at it.) During the finale, if the pregnant woman’s water were to break on the villain’s face blinding her, it’d be the most plausible thing to occur. The film is like vomiting and then expecting your shoes to come out of your mouth. Neither is a pleasant experience, but on some level it has to be seen to be believed.

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originally posted: 10/31/03 17:05:28
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User Comments

9/07/05 ELI eh, might as well comment again. This movie sucked :) 1 stars
9/28/04 ELI I have no clue why the hell I watched this horrific piece of CRAP >:( 1 stars
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Directed by
  John Hancock

Written by
  Dorothy Tristan

  Alex McArthur
  Laura Esterman
  Sage Allen
  Maria Cina
  J.E. Freeman
  Rebecca Harrell

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