16th Feb2018

‘Inoperable’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Danielle Harris, Katie Keene, Chris Hahn, Jeff Denton, Cher Hubsher, Crystal Cordero, Gene Michael, Michelle Marin, Philip Schene | Written by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, Jeff Miller | Directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman

INOPERABLE-Poster

X-Ray, Visiting Hours, The Hospital, See No Evil 2… Who doesn’t love a good old horror movie set inside a medical facility? Not  typically a location that has been overly-used in the genre, I mention that last film as it too starred Danielle Harris, who parlays her years of experience in the genre into this, her latest film, which she pretty much carries solely on her scream-queen shoulders.

And there is, ultimately, a very good reason Inoperable is a one-woman film…

The film sees Harris (Halloween 4 & 5, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Hatchet) plays Amy, a hospital patient who must battle nature and the supernatural… Waking up in a seemingly evacuated hospital with a hurricane approaching. Amy realizes the storm has awakened malevolent forces, trapping her in a time loop. She must escape the hospital before the storm passes or she will be trapped in its halls forever.

Form the get-go Inoperable constantly blurs the line between reality and the supernatural, so much so that by the time the film ends you won’t know what was real and what wasn’t. Consider Inoperable the M.Night Shyamalan of horror (and not in a The Sixth Sense way)… There are some nice touches in terms of re-living the same moment over and over however – Amy is constantly suffering from an injury to her foot: at first its a needle, then some glass; and then she has a nosebleed and the nightmare starts all over again, with Amy back in her car in a traffic jam!

It’s this blurring of reality which is the key to “solving” the story of this movie. Whilst characters behaviours change, actions repeat but in quicker sucession, people are not who they were, where they were, etc., it is all done for a good reason. At first the constant repetition grates, especially considering that Amy tends not to learn from each repetition – she stumbles through the hospital, going from room to room, without so much as trying to figure out what’s going on. That is until she meets Ryan and Jen, who offer some solutions to Amy predicament. Well sort of, one minute they’re mines of information, the next they totally forget who they are!

It’s frustrating but, when the final twist comes, that frustration is, again, for good reason. For you see, like a certain serial-killer film set in a motel before it, Inoperable is not the movie you think it is and there’s a real method behind the [literal] madness of Amy and her situation.

For those that appreciate gore, Inoperable features a number of grisly surgeries that Harris’ character stumbles across whilst wandering the hospital corridors – including brain surgery, an enforced abortion, and a rather ridiculous disembowelling that, honestly, looks like no surgery anyone would ever sign up for voluntarily! Whilst these do offer some great physical effects work, they do little to move the story forward – feeling more like an effort to appease those looking for the next gore-filled hospital horror. The film doesn’t really need the gore, the sheer mystery of Amy’s predicament will hold your attention way longer than any effects will…

Inoperable is available now in the US on DVD and digital HD.

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