Wednesday 6 October 2010

Obscurity Files #25 - Stuck

Obscurity Files aims to put the spotlight onto a series of films that time and audiences have otherwise forgotten. With the Ryan Reynolds starring Buried continuing the wave of Claustrocore films, I though I'd take a look at 2007's car crash thriller, Stuck.
More after the jump...

Whilst driving home from a night of partying, Brandi (Mena Suvari) hits a man with her car, lodging him firmly into the windshield. Rather than pulling over or taking him to a hospital, she decides to drive home and hide her car in her garage overnight. Clearly shaken, she assumes she's killed him on impact, but he's very much alive... or at least he is for now. The man she has hit is Thomas Bardo (Stephen Rea), a down on his luck and out of work man who was already having a bad day before he came into contact with Brandi. Eager to improve his life and find himself a job, a clerical error has prevented him from attending an interview, so he's forced from his apartment with no other option but to sleep in the park.

Firstly, the film is nothing like what you've just seen in the trailer. Far from the comedy that was selling, this is a dark, slightly sadistic thriller about a horrible selfish girl with the worst haircut I think I've ever seen. Brandi works as a nursing assistant in an old folks home, so is a caring person you may assume; well, not when she's up for a raise. She decides to let him have a long, drawn out death on her car bonnet, just to protect her job opportunities.

Somewhat amazingly, this ridiculous story is based (at least partially) on fact. In 2001, an intoxicated Chante Mallard hit a homeless man with her car, similarly lodging him within the car windshield. She neglected to call the police or an ambulance and allowed him to slowly die in her garage. When her crime was discovered she was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for murder. This story is not exactly the same, but follows the basic concept of a man stuck in a broken windshield, and the worrying disregard for human life shown by the driver.

He drifts in and out of consciousness, pleading with Brandi to help him free, but she ignores his cries as her ghetto stereotype boyfriend is on his way around for a night of passion. Bardo's only chance of discovery is Brandi's mobile phone, left in the car but just out of reach to the injured man. The windscreen wiper that has pierced his side isn't helping much either. Once Brandi decides to face up to what she's done, she thinks the better option is to get her boyfriend to dispose of the man before he's even dead. Well, Mr Bardo's sick of being beaten down, so he's not going out without a fight.

It's a pretty stupid concept that is never really explored to its full potential. It's competently directed, but I'd much prefer to see Stuart Gordon stick to his Lovecraftian tales of gore and horror. Stephen Rea puts in a good performance as the slowly dying man, but Mena Suvari never quite sells the reasons why she hasn't phoned for help. She's a shrill little creature that it's easy to hate, but as the other main character is stuck in a window, we're stuck with her for far too long. It's worth checking out if you want to see what a man stuck in a window can actually achieve, but it's not as dark or clever as it should be.

Save from obscurity? NO

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