Torture porn, or, shackle and maim films, if you will, have yet to receive due treatment in the comedic spoof genre. Zombie films have Shaun of the Dead and once prominent Japanese horror movies have laughably bad American counterparts to fill the void, but torture porn has sadly been forgotten in the great scheme of things. Sadly, if Botched was meant to be that comedic offering, then the title alone speaks for itself—this movie was definitely botched.
Some of the best comedies were actually intended to be horror movies. Sam Raimi realized that his campy-by-first-wink hero, Bruce Campbell, would be much more effective if he actually did wink at the camera, and George A. Romero milked comedy for every drop he could with his satirical/outlandish epics about zombies in military bases and shopping malls. But these were budding directors who wound up making far better things (Well, Raimi, anyway), and fostered their comedic chops with these seminal releases.
Not so with Kit Ryan, though, whose directorial debut, Botched, tries so very hard to be something it’s not—a well paced horror spoof with equal amounts of guts and guffaws. Instead, we get a laughless romp featuring Stephen Dorff and a villain who prances about on his tippy toes before he swings a medieval sword directly at somebody’s throat. Add to the fact that this unrated movie is virtually tame enough to receive a standard R-Rating, and you have a movie that’s not even gory enough to sustain the interest of those who would even be interested in watching this kind of movie in the first place. In the end, both comedy fans and horror nuts will ultimately be disappointed.
The story is about a down on his luck thief named Ritchie who’s been asked to steal a precious golden cross from an ordinary looking building after he botched (hee hee, get it?) a diamond heist with a couple of his cronies. The thing is, this ordinary looking building has a mysterious 13th floor where the heir of Ivan the Terrible resides and enjoys attacking and maiming victims who happen to stumble upon his floor.
I know, hilarious, right?
Plot’s not everything, though, and this film could have been salvaged from being a total wreck if the cast of characters trapped on the deletrious 13th floor with Dorff had more spunk and charisma, but they don’t. Instead, they wind up leaving you astonished by how banal and un-funny they are, and I actually found myself losing track of the plot when I started counting how many times I rolled my eyes at the movie’s terrible jokes. Note: I eventually stopped when the eye rolling count reached 23.
We first get a taste of this slapdash cast when we’re introduced to Stephen Dorff, who made such a delicious villain in the original Blade movie. In this film, though, you feel that his gruff, covered in stubble mouth could have easily been replaced by an even tougher badass, like Ray Liota or Jason Statham. The thing is, even though both of those aforementioned actors have both appeared in far worse films (*Cough*, Dungeon Seige *End cough*), I still have a hard time believing that either actor would actually take this role since it’s so forgettablly lost in the shuffle of the other horrible characters.
Take Peter (played byJamie Foreman) for instance. As a tough talking, course Russian accented loose canon, you’d think he’d steal the show with his boasting and bravado, but when he says lines like, “I am not Santa Claus, and this is not Christmas,” you feel that you want to chuckle, but just can’t bring yourself to do it. It really sounds better on paper. Or, Boris, for example, a security guard who obviously has delusions of grandeur and keeps proclaiming “Alpha Male,” as if he were Flava Flav and saying his own name for the umpteenth time. You want to laugh at his reckless attempts to save the day, but find yourself merely smiling rather than slapping your knee and throwing your popcorn up in the air you’re laughing so hard. The jokes are there, but they just aren’t strong enough to sustain your interest for very long.
That doesn’t mean this film is all bad, though. There are a few scenes in the movie that I thought were pretty funny, one involving a very upset Peter smacking his brother around because he (his brother) wants to eat a sandwich during a hostage negotiation. But the laughs are just too few and far between, and the violence is too tame to excite the typical blood lusting horror fan. Director Kit Ryan has a long, uphill battle ahead of him if he wants to catch up with the big boys like Raimi or Romero, as this offbeat slasher debut just doesn’t make the cut.
Special features? What special features? This Unrated version of the film has nary a single one other than scene selection and subtitles.
If anything, that’s the funniest joke in the entire package—a modern day DVD that doesn’t even have any special features. Not even a theatrical trailer. Now, that’s what I call scary.