Rocky Horror-esque 'Repo!' lacks charm

-- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:32 AM ET

Director Darren Lynn Bousman and co. clearly are trying to position their overblown musical, Repo! The Genetic Opera, as a Goth answer to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

It remains a mystery how Rocky Horror, a disaster on initial release, climbed out of the abyss and became a late-night cult favourite that is still beloved (including by me). But the originality of the original theatrical piece factors in, as does the quality of the show tunes and the compelling nature of the cast.

With fans chanting lines, singing snatches of tunes and dressing like the characters, Repo! would like to replicate that enthusiasm and devotion now.

Count me out. Repo! is a bloody grotesquerie, not a delicious delight as was Rocky Horror.

Repo!, Bousman's first musical after helming three of the Saw sequels, sucks so large that only the Goth crowd could love it -- and only because few other filmmakers bother to cater to their particular tastes.

The pseudo-operatic rock music is horrible. The acting is abysmal, from Alexa Vega's poor-little-me performance as the teenager, to Paul Sorvino's blustery turn as the despotic villain. Paris Hilton -- who plays Sorvino's drug- and surgery-obsessed daughter -- is not the worst thing on screen, so that tells you something because she is a hopeless twit as an actress. Even reliable Anthony Stewart Head (of Buffy fame) is ridiculous as Vega's daddy, a man hiding his horrifying secret-identity from her.

Other thankless roles are played by Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, Terrance Zdunich and even Sarah Brightman, who wastes her powerful pipes singing as the weird-eyed Blind Mag.

The production design is all gloom-and-doom. It looks like what would result if the artistry of Blade Runner was imposed on the sets for Chicago and gussied up with traces of Transylvania and washed over with buckets of blood.

The story for this made-in-Toronto creepshow involves organs that Sorvino's all-powerful company dispensed to save lives during a prior plague. With the populace hooked, and in debt, GeneCo now sends out a repo man to rip the organs out of delinquent customers, leaving them as bloodied, mangled corpses.

Ugh! And ugly.

(This film is rated 18-A)


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