OTIS is a story of suburban America gone haywire. In the midst of a serial abductor/killerâ€™s rampage, a beautiful young teen, Riley Lawson (Ashley Johnson), goes missing. When her desperate parents, Will and Kate (Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas), are contacted by her kidnapper, an insufferable FBI Special Agent (Jere Burns) takes charge of the case. But, from deep within the psychopathic subterranean world created by Otis (Bostin Christopher), Riley turns the tables on her tormentor, manages to escape and to contact her parents. Fed up with the tragi- comic inability of the FBI to find their girl, Will, Kate and Rileyâ€™s brother, Reed (Jared Kusnitz), decide to take matters - and justice - into their own hands. But when Otis brother, Elmo (Kevin Pollak), shows up unexpectedly, the Lawsons find themselves mired in one of the more unusual and macabre consequences of vigilantism. Far from proclaiming â€˜Mission Accomplished,â€™ the backed-in-a-corner Lawsons will further complicate their already deadly predicament with a surprising, unfortunate and frankly hilarious final choice.
A fling at a horror-creepfest-black comedy, Otis means to score points by building a revenge fantasy into its tale of a junior-league Hannibal Lecter wannabe. Otis is a fat, nerdy pizza delivery guy whose home dungeon becomes a prison for high-school girls he's kidnapped. His current victim, Riley (Ashley Johnson), is made to endure all manner of yucky role-playing, including a fake prom date. Eventually Riley's family will turn suburban avengers, and the twisted humor of the piece will take center stage, but the movie spends far too much time on what can only be called torture porn--even if it's couched as a dark comedy. It's been done so many times before that the only interesting section of the movie, the family's reaction, is guilty by unsavory association. They're played by Illeana Douglas, Daniel Stern (carrying a warped memory of Home Alone), and Jared Kusnitz, all of whom appear to be enjoying the revolting things they're allowed to do. Otis is played by Bostin Christopher, who looks like Vincent D'Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket by way of Pruitt Taylor Vince. Most of the cast spends the movie in a full hysterical mode, including Kevin Pollak, as Otis's brother, and Jere Burns, as a colossally insensitive police investigator. The latter scarfs up most of the movie's genuine laughs, just by underplaying his most inappropriate comments. That sense of understatement could be used elsewhere in this overly familiar piece of sado-comedy. --Robert Horton
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