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Inoperable Review

December 8, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Inoperable Review  

Inoperable Review

Danielle Harris– Amy Barrett
Jeff Denton– Ryan
Katie Keene– Jen
Crystal Cordero– Ophelia

Directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman
Screenplay by Christopher Lawrence Chapman and Jeff Miller

Distributed by ITN Distribution

Not Rated
Runtime– 85 minutes


Inoperable, directed and co-written by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, is a well-made but ultimately frustrating sort of sci-fi/horror flick starring modern horror legend Danielle Harris. It’s one of those movies that’s a kick ass roller coaster ride right up until the end, when the movie decides it’s really something else entirely. I understand why people love “big twists” in their sci-fi/horror/thriller movies, but I think it’s high time the “big twist” be given a rest.

Harris stars as Amy Barrett, a young woman who finds herself trapped inside of a Florida hospital in the middle of a monster hurricane. At first, Amy wakes up in the hospital not knowing how she got there and assumes she’s alone as she calls out for help and no one answers (she’s also in a private room. How often do you see that in a modern day hospital when you’re not rich, famous, or have badass insurance? Exactly. Never). She gets out of bed and walks the hallways, initially not finding anyone. When she does find someone, though, they don’t react to her. It’s like they can’t even see her. There’s also something off about the hospital’s employees and the hospital itself. But what is it? What the hell is going on?

So Amy removes her IV, gets dressed, and tries to get someone’s attention. When she finally does get an employee’s attention the employee clearly has no interest in helping her. Instead, the hospital employee wants to capture her. But why? Why would a nurse or a doctor want to capture anyone? And why are they all still in the hospital with a massive hurricane coming? Shouldn’t they be evacuating?

So Amy runs and hides in a surgery room, a surgery room where doctors are performing a grotesque intestinal procedure on a man who is still awake. What the hell?

It’s at this point that Amy blacks out and then finds herself in her sweet white Corvette stuck in traffic, the same place she was right before she woke up in the hospital. How the hell did she get there? And why is she back in her car? Before she can figure anything out Amy blacks out again and finds herself back in the hospital. Again.

And so Amy keeps going through this series of events again and again. Car. Blackout. Hospital. Walk around. Get chased. Black out. Back in the car again. Each new hospital chase is a little different than the last one, but it always ends the same. During one hospital chase she runs into two non-hospital employees, a cop named Ryan (Jeff Denton) and a woman in a short skirt named Jen (Katie Keene). Amy is able to interact with both of them a bit and finds out that they, too, seem to be trapped in the hospital and seem to be experiencing the same series of events again and again. Just what the hell is going on?

At first, Inoperable seems to be a horrific bit of science fiction, as Amy, Ryan, and Jen may be trapped in the hospital due to the hurricane possibly damaging a super-secret particle research project at a nearby military base. The damage, somehow, has forced Amy, Ryan, and Jen into a “time loop” that they can’t get out of. I think I would have preferred that explanation than the one we end up getting. The movie spends quite a bit of time having the characters trying to figure out how to get out of the “time loop” they find themselves in. Because what the hell is a “time loop?” Can you even get out of one if you find yourself in one? And how much trial and error do you get to engage in before you can’t stop the time loop from completely consuming you? When that explanation is abandoned in the last ten minutes or so it makes the story feel like a big waste of time. I don’t like that, at least not here.

Now, don’t get me wrong. While I may not buy the ultimate explanation given for what’s actually happening in Inoperable it does make a kind of a sense. All of the pieces are there in the movie to help connect it all together. To me, though, it feels like a cheat. It’s a well-made cheat, but a cheat nonetheless. It may hit you differently. Perhaps you will buy into it. In a few weeks, maybe I will, too. At the moment, though, I just can’t.

The hospital set, which I assume is a real hospital (or was a real hospital at one point) is creepy as hell. It looks like any old hospital in any old town in America, but there’s something off about it. Is it the lighting? Is it the lack of posters and whatnot on the walls? Is it the lack of hustle and bustle inside the hospital? It’s probably all of those things. And when you look at the hospital’s assorted employees, Jesus, no one is getting out of that place alive. That’s messed up, especially for a hospital that isn’t full of employees with demonic special effects make-up. They’re just people with a mean streak.

The special effects, from Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps, are absolutely disgusting and disturbing, exactly what you need for this kind of movie. That surgery scene is still with me as I write this. There’s also a terrific exposed brain sequence that will make you think twice about eating ramen noodles for a few weeks.

Danielle Harris does an amazing job as Amy Barrett, the woman trapped in the hospital. She’s in every scene in the movie and shows just what she can do. She starts out confused and frightened and ends up being a plucky heroine making a serious effort to survive. And her final scene is freaky as hell. As I said, I don’t care for the way the movie ends, but Harris’s final scene will stick with you. It’s terrifying all on its own.

Jeff Denton does a good job as Ryan, the cop who has actually been trapped in the hospital longer than Amy, which seems insane. What he goes through is pretty messed up, especially when he keeps trying to hide and keeps getting found anyway. And Katie Keene does a fine job as Jen. How she manages to do what she does in the movie while wearing a short skirt and high heel shoes is nothing short of dumbfounding. How did she not break a leg wearing those shoes and running around?

Inoperable is a frustrating experience, at least it was for me. It’s well made, superbly cast, and thrilling for most of its runtime. That ending, though, just annoys me to no end. It makes sense, but it’s unnecessary. There was nothing wrong with the initial explanation.

Still, Inoperable is worth seeing. There’s more good stuff in it than bad. Danielle Harris is awesome.

See Inoperable. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Maybe 2.

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage:Doctors talking about a patient they’re wheeling into a hospital, talk of a storm, a pretty cool opening theme, cars in traffic, a sweet 1980’s Corvette, IV bag hooey, a burned up guy, multiple locked doors, a needle on the floor, a gross surgery, a bumper sticker, a hallway foot chase, exploding light bulb, graphic glass removal from a foot wound, gauze, more running, scalpel attack, multiple nose bleeds, needle to the neck, a seriously gutted patient on the floor in the hallway, talk about mascara, a room full of viscera, an exposed brain, skin grating, grossly invasive surgery, a stuffed elephant, attempted cell phone use, brain zapping, talk of a muscle car, seemingly perpetual torture, graphic back surgery, a freak out, throat slitting, and an ending that the movie should have avoided.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Danielle Harris, Danielle Harris apparently owning a sweet white Corvette, Danielle Harris seemingly alone in a hospital, the emergency broadcast system, time loops, a woman with a stuffed animal, scalpel hooey, nosebleeds, Danielle Harris trying to use a cell phone, and an ending that the movie should have avoided.

Best lines: “Hello? Nurse?,” “Hello? I’m still in here!,” “Are we supposed to be evacuating? Can anyone hear me?,” “Please, just let me call my Mom!,” “What’s with the saw? Uh, yeah,” “So what are you guys doing here?,” “This is all just too much,” “I hate video games,” “Amy, we’ve got to go,” “Oh my God. What have they done to you?,” “I’m not pregnant!,” “Who are you? Are you one of them?,” “So how did you get here?,” “Now, give me your elephant!,” “My, you have a healthy heart,” “You’re not one of them,” “I’m so sorry, Jen,” “I fucking hate this place,” “Cute dog,” “Remind me to renew my health insurance if I ever get out of here,” “What’s 9-4-5?,” “God! Motherfucker!,” “Amy, you need to get help,” “I miss Amy,” and “Mom? Um, Mom, you’re hurting me.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Inoperable is a well-made sort of sci-fi horror movie that features an annoying ending. Well, it was annoying to me. You may end up digging it. Danielle Harris is brilliant in it, and it’s worth checking out for her performance and everything up until the last ten minutes. Why does everything need to have a big twist ending?