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Otis

D: Tony Krantz; with Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Pollak, Jere Burns, Bostin Christopher

Otis is a serial killer, abducting and torturing that most stereotypical of Hollywood victims, the cheerleader. But he’s also slightly incompetent, and after accidentally killing too soon one of his victims, he kidnaps her replacement, with plans to make her his latest plaything: Her very dysfunctional family has a very different idea about that. But like the killer’s clueless attempts at playing psycho, this vengeful but overenthusiastic family brings a cheese knife to a manhunt. This is Last House on the Left as a screwball comedy, taking a few broad satiric sweeps at the bloodlust in modern media. Christopher, as the shambling man-child Otis, strikes the essential balance between black comedy and enough menace to keep him from becoming appealing. But it’s hard to find a better laugh this year than Illeana Douglas, as the enraged and protective mother, talking about finger-and-toe smoothies.

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