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Botched (2007)

Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 5/13/2008

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Video: 1/2
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/29/2008

When will the studios learn? Movie critics are writers and most are creative people. Yet, when someone lobs a slow pitch over the plate, critics aren't going to hesitate to swing at it. So, when will the studios learn to stop giving movies titles when can isn't be turned against a bad movie. Any title which implies something which isn't good or complete will inevitably find its way into the headline of a negative review. Well, I'm somewhat lazy by nature, so I'm certainly not going to turn down an opportunity to participate in this time-honored ritual, so, here goes: The title isn't the only thing which was Botched in this movie. How was that?

As Botched opens, we see Ritchie (Stephen Dorff) participating in a diamond heist in an unidentified tropical location. While the robbery goes smoothly, the get-away doesn't and Ritchie loses the haul. He visits his boss, Mr. Groznyi (Sean Pertwee), who is quite disappointed in Ritchie. But, Mr. Groznyi gives Ritchie a chance to redeem himself. He sends Ritchie to Moscow to steal a golden cross which once belong to Ivan IV. Ritchie enters a massive office building with Peter (Jamie Foreman) and Yuri (Russell Smith) to do the job, which doesn't go well. While making their escape, the elevator stops on the building's 13th floor, and won't budge. Peter forces the other passengers off of the elevator, while Ritchie tries to find a way out. Not finding one, they lock their now hostages in a room and wait for the police to come. But, this doesn't happen. Instead, a mysterious presence begins to killer both the criminals and the hostages. Ritchie soon realizes that his botched robbery is the least of his problems and that he must find a way to survive.

The DVD box for Botched claims that the film is a "horror-comedy". I beg to differ, as the movie doesn't feature anything remotely scary or a moment which resembles humor. (There is some mild gore, but that shouldn't equal horror.) What we do get is an exercise in tedium and bare-bones movie-making which would drive the most patient viewer to flee from the room.

Botched suffers from many, many problems, but it's primary sin is that it's boring. It doesn't take long for the group to become trapped on the 13th floor, and after that, the movie becomes a dreary cycle of people running down hallways. The various group members split up and enter different rooms, but little happens to break up the monotony. However, the idea of watching people wander corridors sounds like a stroke of genius once the true plot arrives. I won't give away the "plot twist" (It wouldn't matter if I did -- you'd think I was lying), but when it occurs, only the bravest or stupidest viewers will resist the urge to stop the movie. I will say this, any villain who constantly leaps and twirls like a ballerina is not scary...well, not in the way in which this movie intended.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I got the point/purpose of Botched. Again, the label "horror-comedy" doesn't fit here. (Although, "horrible comedy" might.) The movie is never funny. There were times when I'd look at my wife and say, "Is that supposed to be funny?", but there was never a single moment in the film which was overtly humorous. The film seems to be going for ironic humor, but it fails. There are some semi-graphic murders in the film, but they are just as dull as the rest of the movie.

The movie also suffers from feeling incredibly cheap -- as opposed to simply low budget. The characters run down the same dingy hallway over and over, and one can't help but feel that the crew built one corridor set and constantly re-dressed it. This "uncut version" of the film wants to present us with shocking gore effects, but there is nothing special here. The direction from Kit Ryan is lackadaisical at best, and I don't remember any interesting shots. Of course, how many different ways can you shoot the same hallway? And while this isn't directly related to the budget, if the story is set in Moscow, how come every character can speak English? Maybe a few sure, but all of them?! (When I saw that the film was set in Moscow, I assumed that this was yet another horror film shot in Eastern Europe. Nope, it was shot in Ireland. Come to think of it, the story could have been set anywhere with a few tweaks of the script...did I say script? Silly me...)

There's a blurb on the DVD box which likens Botched to Shaun of the Dead and Severance. Well, all three of those movies are movies and that's where the similarities end. Shaun of the Dead is a modern-day classic and Severance is a fun, cynical movie, whereas Botched is simply an apt description.

Botched bored the pants off of me on DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and mostly clear, but there is some very mild grain on the image. There are no defects from the source material. The colors look fine, especially the red blood, and the image is never overly dark. However, the picture is very flat and has no real depth to it. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Aside from some subtle bass effects when the elevator stops, I really didn't detect any obvious audio magic here. There were some mild stereo effects, mostly detailing off-screen action, but I didn't hear any notable surround sound effects. Given the confined nature of the story, surround sound effects would seem to be a given.

There are no bonus features on this DVD.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long