Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Thrashing & Slashing in rhythm and time!

Dir. Darren Lynn Bousman

Runtime: 98 minutes

Rating: 18

Starring: Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head, Alexa PenaVega, Sarah Brightman, Bill Moseley, Paris Hilton,

I shit you not, this really really is a musical (or Operatic) Horror film. Right from the start, this film is bonkers but soo soo colourful and engaging – the opening credit’s themselves should keep you hooked and wondering what the hell is going to happen in the film. I wasn’t 100% convinced about the musical score but it wasn’t at all out of place and did serve as great narrative drive as the film progressed. There are comic-book flashbacks which serve to keep this nerds taste buds moist.

The film takes place in 2046 in it’s own Gothic and dark world – it’s visually stunning and due to the complexity of the construct I can see a lot more films being spawned from this. Organ failure is a common problem, and to assist civilization companies like GeneCo have been set up. GeneCo is a bio-tech company offering organ transplants for a cost, they are largest of companies with this service so hold the market. For a price they will fix their customers, but should a customer miss a payment, the RepoMan will be sent to hunt them down to get GeneCo’s product back. This is normal everyday life for a culture addicted to painkillers and medication of course.

Anthony Head is the RepoMan, contracted by Paul Sorvino’s Rotti Largo character in an almost Faustian pact to repossess organs and limbs of people unable to maintain payments. He [Head] thinks/assumes that he killed his wife in the past, and Rotti lets him continue believing this in order for business to be done. Head’s daughter, Shilo (Alex PenaVega), is struggling with life growing up with a degenerative disease which will ultimately kill her. Shilo has her own adventures but will cross paths eventually with the Largo family members and some home truths about her childhood. The Largo kid’s (Paris Hilton, Bill Mosely, and Nivek Ogre) are all fighting for the power to control Largo Rotti’s GeneCo empire. A chance encounter allows Shilo to meet Blind Mag (Sarah Brightman), who helps Shilo discover herself, and the deals which have been made when her mother died, when coincidentally the RepoMan started. The climax of the film is a brilliant fight scene/opera song worthy of any musical.

I recommend this film highly to anyone like myself who loves brilliantly bonkers and spectacular movies. People who might just have a penchant for horror or the occasional musical at the same time – FTR this is not as camp as you might expect from a musical, sure it’s got songs to replace speeches but it works extremely well and you may just find yourself humming some of the songs after the credits have rolled. If you enjoyed “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) or “Sweeny Todd” (2007) then this is a natural progression, and you will not be disappointed. A total departure from what I expected from the director of the ‘Saw‘ (2004+) films to make, but well done Darren Lynn Bousman all the same, I take my hat off to you.

I can see this film being a cult classic and shown on many midnight Halloween film events in years to come. It’s extremely original, it’s visually stunning, and direction and production values are extremely high. Casting is brilliant, they all deliver. I might normally expect such big names to get more screen time on their own merit. The complex relationships between characters is explored via comic style flashbacks which just adds to the beauty and appeal of this film. I really can’t say enough superlatives about this film, just leave expectations at the door and let the film’s world immerse you in itself.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (7/10)

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