Idle Hands joins an elite pantheon of horror films dealing with possessed hands. For serious takes on the malady, take a look at The Beast With Five Fingers, or The Hand. If you’re in a more humorous frame of mind, Evil Dead 2 captured the comic potential of an evil hand. Idle Hands tries to follow along the latter route, but is ultimately neither funny nor scary enough to stand out in even this small crowd.
Anton (Devon Sawa) is certainly idle. He’s a stoner who spends his days skipping school, smoking pot, and watching music videos. He is so lazy and out of touch that he doesn’t realize that a serial killer is at large in his town of Bowen, California…or even that his parents have become victims.
Anton goes about his life normally, thinking his parents have gone away somewhere. When he’s not hanging around with his stoner buddies, Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson), he’s pining for his beautiful neighbor, Molly (Jessica Alba).
But the killer is truly closer than Anton suspects. His own right hand has been possessed by an evil force, and now has a mind of its own. Luckily, a druidic priestess, Debi (Vivica A. Fox), is on her way to Bowen, having searched for this evil force all of her life. But will she make it in time before Anton’s hand kills again?
There is nary an original idea in Idle Hands. Every single idea seems cribbed from another movie. There are shades of Evil Dead 2, An American Werewolf in London, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both movie and TV versions), and even the Child’s Play movies. Idle Hands feels more like a greatest hits collection than an actual movie.
Unfortunately, the film is never able to achieve the same level of humor as the inspirations. That doesn’t mean Idle Hands is jokefree, however. The film has occasional moments of genius (such as the brave use of a family pet, or the unexpected fate of a celebrity guest star). There just aren’t nearly enough of them to prop up the rest of this limp film.
Devon Sawa is cheerfully vacant in the lead role. However, he is easily overshadowed every time his friends Mick and Pnub appear. The performances of Seth Green and Elden Henson are so enjoyable that they surely deserve a more valuable film to steal.
Idle Hands may one day become a mildly entertaining late night video. On the other hand, why bother when you can already watch the superior video inspirations for Idle Hands’ clumsy patchwork.