Repo! The Genetic Opera

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Posted November 6, 2008 in Film

Of course it’s not an opera, not that its fanbase gives a damn. A solid hit on the LA small stage, Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunick’s musical makes for an amped-up—but no less theatrical—grinding rock slasher. Freed from the constraints (or rather, imagination) of merely being able to pretend-kill victims on stage, Smith and Zdunick have unleashed Saw II, III, and IV director Darren Lynn Bousman to slick the screen in blood and organs. The plot concerns an apocalyptic future where everyone dresses like Elvira and purchases new organs when theirs fail. But when people can’t make their payments to GeneCo president Rotti (Paul Sorvino) and his goony children (Bill Mosely, Nivek Ogre, and Paris Hilton), the fallout is even worse than foreclosure: A repo man reclaims their livers and leaves them for dead. The Grand Guignol morality with its innocents, demons, and schizophrenics like a repo man (Anthony Head) who hides his job from his innocent daughter (Alexa Vega) is more haunting than the music allows—a drum-crashing, guitar-thrashing, clumsy smash-up that makes Andrew Lloyd Webber—hell, even Evanescence—sound subtle. With its expressionistic sets and heavy, glossy black wigs, its more over-poweringly An Event than an event worth remembering; it’s bad-good in the way the Rocky Horror Picture Show must have seemed to nuns, except without the shock, musicality, or Meat Loaf (though Hilton acquits herself fine). (Amy Nicholson)


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