‘Inoperable’ reviewed

❉ A horror film involving time loops starring indie horror regular Danielle Harris.

Time loops have made for interesting and entertaining cinema in the past; Groundhog Day is one of the most beloved comedies around. Bill Murray’s performance is a big part of that but when watching the film again and again you see the amount of work put into the script and direction, the care taken in setting up situations and punchlines that pay off in rewarding the viewer and the care in setting up the rules and logic of the loop itself. Edge Of Tomorrow took the premise and ended up being one of the more entertaining big budget sci-fi blockbusters of recent times. More recently we had Happy Death Day, which I have to confess to not seeing but judging by its box office and generally favourable reviews taking the conceit of time loops and melding it to a slasher narrative seems to have paid off for it.

Then we have Inoperable. A horror film involving time loops set in a hospital where the staff are overly keen to operate on their patients.  A film where the director and scriptwriter had the idea of using time loops in a horror setting, couldn’t figure out how to do it properly and then did it anyway.

There is a heroine here, played by indie horror regular Danielle Harris. But she is stranded in a film where director and co-screenwriter Christopher Lawrence Chapman has absolutely no idea how to use this premise other than sticking in some ineffective gore scenes. With less than a set up Smith also manages to deliver even less of a climax. But you have to sit through endless scenes of people running down the same corridors again and again espousing nonsensical dialogue to get there.

The plot, such as it is, has Amy sitting in a traffic jam, then suddenly waking up in a near deserted hospital. According to the news a hurricane is on the way. She walks about, meets some people and then the strangely acting staff try and catch them to operate on them. Then Amy is back in the car and then wakes up in hospital again. Repeat. Again, and again to more nonsensical results each time.

This is low budget horror at its near absolute worst. Obviously, the producers have found a location and written around it. This too is a major failure on their part as the emptied office building they use fails at doubling as a hospital. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t operating rooms have tiled floors and not carpets? And when did they start adding windows to operating rooms that look out into a general corridor where anyone can look in? A door would be quite handy too, instead of the blue floral curtain used here in one scene.

The cast, who seemed to have been picked from the nearest acting studio, struggle with the nonsensical script; one poor actor is forced by the script to theorise that the time loops are being caused by the eye of the hurricane “moving over the nearby secret government testing facility” It can’t be that secret then! The photography is the one department where they have actually tried to do some work, the camera whizzes around the actors at a speedy rate but when it stands still it only highlights the visually flat and overlit nature of the film, highlighting the complete lack of atmosphere the film fails to conjure.

By the end, which plunges the film into a black hole of sub-par nonsense that will only give you a sore head if you try to figure it out, you will be exhausted and deadened by its bland nature, repetitiveness and complete lack in the basics of storytelling.

Avoid. There are far better ways to disappoint yourself.

‘Inoperable’ (English / USA / 85 minutes) will be out now on DVD and Digital HD. Order Inoperable on Amazon US.


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