Body Parts – 2 out of 5
I never heard of this 90s thriller until it was featured on How Did This Get Made? In fairness though, I’m not surprised I haven’t heard of it because there are tons and tons of movies out there in existence so I can’t be expected to have even a passing familiarity with all of them. Anyway, being a fan of campy and bad films (and hearing the ridiculous joy that Jason Mantzoukas got from the film), I figured I had to check out Body Parts.
|It needs to be noted that Brad Dourif is in the film and that dude is fantastic!|
|Oh no! That dummy killed himself!|
After psychologist Bill Chrushanks (Jeff Fahey) ends up in a car accident on his way to work and loses his arm. He ends up becoming a test subject on an experimental surgery from Dr. Agatha Webb (Lindsay Duncan) and she convinces Bill’s wife Karen (Kim Delaney) to sign off on the procedure but little did any of them realize is that the arm belongs to convicted serial killer. Bill starts to dig and finds out that other appendages have been used on other patients in the experiment and he soon starts to wonder if evil is capable of being transferred from one person to the next.
|The Black Knight from Monty Python seems to come to mind here...|
The idea that the evilness of a person can somehow transfer from one person to the next via appendages or organs and stuff isn’t anything really new in the horror/thriller genre. There are a ton of examples that play on this horror trope and, to be honest, it’s not a bad concept—albeit, it’s a very silly one. However, it does toy with the idea that a person’s moral standing can somehow permeate and actually infect their body and that’s one thing Body Parts actually does kinda well.
|It's also really good at showcasing outdated technology.|
While the thoughts and ideas that Body Parts is proposing isn’t really dived into that deeply, it’s still an interesting thought process that is lying dormant in any horror fiction of this kind. Sadly, this philosophical argument of a person’s darkness soaking into their very skin is kinda undercut by the film’s many issues. Mainly, the plot moves very unpredictably and the final climax and twist it reveals feels a bit cheesy and kind of a horror cliché.
|In today's America, guns in a hospital seem normal! Ha ha, topical!|
|"Another crazy experiment I have an idea for is|
giving people a second butt! I'm mad with power!"
Never does Body Parts unfold or have its story develop at a consistent rate and its flow jumps wildly from the methodical to the unpredictable and rapid. Often the film would transition from scene to scene at such a way that I would question if I missed something because this film has a bad habit of feeling like minor, transitional moments were left on the cutting room floor. Finally, the film completely undoes its mystery and suspense by going for the quick, visceral and gory ending. This jarring shift in tone is only compounded after a reveal is made that is never really that development or gets the build-up it needed.
|"Whoo, I got a serial killer's leg and that means I can dunk now!"|
|I may not have felt Fahey was strong casting but|
look at that smoldering glance he has.
Body Parts isn’t an outright terrible film and it actually has some interesting ideas at play. Even from a performance standpoint the film isn’t too shabby. Sure, I think that Jeff Fahey might not have been the best choice for the lead and some of the supporting players can be a tad forgettable but Lindsay Duncan is great as Dr. Webb and the film also features Brad Dourif and that dude never gives a bad performance. Yes, there was some potential to this one but it still ended up like so many other lower budget thrillers and was a little cheesy and more accidentally silly than interesting or even creepy.