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OTIS ($25) definitely will not be to every taste, but this reviewer found it dark, twisted and funny. This horror opus heralds from Warner’s Raw Feed division places black comic spin on the story of a serial killer, the unfortunate teenage girl he kidnaps and her family’s ill-conceived plan for vengeance. Gotta say I really love Illeana Douglas and always happy when she gets a choice part- just like she has in OTIS. Daniel Stern, Kevin Pollak and Jere Burns also add their slightly skewed comic talents to the proceedings.

OTIS is the story of a forty-year-old, three hundred pound, socially retarded loser named Otis Broth (Bostin Christopher), who has fixated on creating an event that never occurred during his youth- namely attending the prom with a girl named Kim. The bodies of Otis’ unfortunate prom dates have begun piling up, but he keeps trying to create that special evening with Kim, and utilizes his job as a pizza delivery boy to locate fresh candidates. Riley Lawson (Ashley Johnson) is the latest in the series of girls, who have gone missing, and her distraught parents Will (Stern) and Kate (Douglas) play along with Otis’ demented calls to their home, at the behest of FBI Agent Hotchkiss (Burns), in order to get their daughter back. As luck would have it, Otis’ intimidating Morton (Pollak) interrupts "the prom," which just turns everything into an even bigger, bloodier and funnier mess. The cast of OTIS also includes Jared Kusnitz, Tracy Scoggins and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs.

Warner Home Video has made OTIS available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Despite the fact that OTIS falls under Warner’s Raw Feed label, the presentation is really rather good for a low budget, direct-to-video affair. A bit softer than a regular theatrical feature, the levels of sharpness and image detail are generally very good. Some shots do come up a little short, but they never go anywhere near the unacceptable category. Colors are reasonably solid, with the flesh tones appearing fairly natural. Black are okay, whites are stable and the level of contrast is just fine. There is some noise in the picture is noticeable, but isn't particularly bad. Digital compression artifacts are fairly well contained. The Blu-ray version of OTIS has been postponed for several months, but I would be very interested to see how much high definition will tighten up the presentation.

OTIS comes with a respectable Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. For the most part, OTIS is a rather talky affair, so there is more activity across the forward soundstage than there is in the rear channels. However, the surrounds do supply the usual complement of ambient sounds and musical fill, plus some active effects where warranted. There are channel separations across the front, music is nicely integrated and given a decent spread. Musical fidelity is good and the sound effect are convincing. The bass channel adds more than enough kick to the proceedings. Dialogue is always easy to understand. A Spanish language track has also been encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements that include a running Audio Commentary with director Tony Krantz and writer Erik Jendresen, The Twisted World Of Otis (twelve minute featurette), Alternate Ending (The Birthday Party, with optional comments), Otis’ Home Movi:e Suite 16 (self-explanatory) and Raw Feed Trailers.

As I stated above, OTIS is dark, twisted and funny. Warner’s DVD presentation is just fine for a direct-to-video production. If you find the subject matter appealing, you’ll want to make a date with OTIS. If you are playing hard to get, you’ll want to hold out for the Blu-ray version.



Otis (2008)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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