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Repo! The Genetic Opera

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2008
 
Back in December 2007, I predicted "Repo! The Genetic Opera" would be the worst movie of 2008, simply based upon its description and casting of Paris Hilton. Now that I've actually had a chance to see it on DVD, it turns out I was wrong "¦ but only by a hair. "Repo!" is a failure, all right, but at least it's an interesting failure.
 
To follow up two back-to-back "Saw" sequels, director Darren Lynn Bousman didn't give up the gore in helming a futuristic rock opera, set in a time when organ transplants are performed purely for cosmetic reasons. Such surgery is pricey, and if you can't pay your bill, the repo man shows up to rip you open and take back the goods.
 
Blending sci-fi and horror, the repossession angle is the most compelling part of the film. It's the music that kills things. The songs barely register as melodic, and one wonders why a musical was even attempted. After all, the rock opera truly has worked on the big screen maybe once, twice before?
 
Remarkably, Hilton doesn't embarrass herself, partly because she's almost unrecognizable, disappearing amid a crowd of emo/Goth players in an eclectic cast that also includes the veteran Paul Sorvino, the underrated Bill Moseley and the stage songbird Sarah Brightman.
 
At first visually striking, "Repo!"'s seams begin to show as the constraints of a low budget emerge. It quickly derails, albeit in a fairly original way. Hey, at least Bousman tried, which is more one can say for most.

 "?Rod Lott

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