REPO:THE GENETIC OPERA
General Release 2008
98 minutes approx
Shilo Wallace -
Nathan/Repo Man -
Rotti Largo -
Blind Mag -
Amber Sweet -
Directed by -
Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by -
Darren Smith & Terrance Zdunich
In the near future a plague of organ failures has struck the human race and destroyed civilisation. Manufacturer of artificial organs GeneCo saved humanity, but their products are not cheap and if you can't keep up the payments then the infamous Repo Man will come around and remove the organs once again without the aid of all that anaesthetic stuff. Shilo, a girl with a blood disorder escapes the confines of her sick bed to attend GeneCo's annual Genetic Opera and learns of her own links with Rotti Largo, owner of GeneCo, Blind Mags the company's front singer and the Repo Man himself.
First things first, if you're the kind of person who can't get through an episode of CASUALTY because of the medical content then you need to keep well away from this. It is quite difficult to see exactly who this is going to be aimed at. Hardened gorehounds aren't going to be enticed by the fact that it's a musical and lovers of light opera aren't likely to get all excited by the graphic disembowelling and eye gouging and just general amounts of grue.
Those that do take it on, however, might be in for a surprise. This has 'cult' written all over it and seems determined to go for the same shock value as THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Of course when that show/film pushed the taste boundaries back in the 70s that meant references to some wide sexual practices. REPO:THE GENETIC OPERA goes more for faces falling off and impalements of metal railings.
There is, however, more to it than the surface gore. You're not likely to come out of the film singing the breakout ballad or upbeat ditty, because there aren't any that really stand out, but the mood and the music and the performances start to grow on you until you're surprised to find that you're engrossed and actually want to find out what's going to happen. After all, Anthony Head, Paul Sorvino and (ahem) Sarah Brightman have better things to be doing that appearing in some slasher horror pic. The quality of the cast is added to with leads Alexa Vega and Terrance Zdunich, both putting in impressive showings alongside the big star names. The less said about Paris Hilton the better.
It's not all bouquets, however. The film is rough around the edges (but then what cult offering isn't) and there are extraneous characters who seem to do nothing, such as the trio of would-be GeneCo heirs. The whole subplot about the drug that makes surgery bearable also has a feel of being tacked on to boost the running time. The reliance on the shock value of blood and gore is far more than the film needs and so becomes just unpleasant and unnecessary.
REPO:THE GENETIC OPERA at least has the benefit of loads of energy and is almost certain to be the only thing like it to be seen this year. Give it a try and you might be surprised.Top
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