FANTASIA: Stuart Gordon's 'Stuck'

Andrew Mack, Contributing Writer

There is an adage about looking at a car crash and as horrific as it is you just cannot turn your head away. What if I told you that I saw I car crash last night and I didn’t want to turn my head away, that I leaned forward in my seat, that I was horrified but I also laughed uproariously at the carnage in front of me. You would think that I was a sick freak. And while it may be years before that is proved in a court of law follow me for a minute here.

Near about 5 ½ years ago a nurse in Fort Worth, Texas was involved in a hit and run accident which left her victim lodged in her front windshield. She drove home, parked the car in the garage and left him there to die over the next two or three days. The horrific story borders on urban legend and has influenced a popular television drama to use it as a plot device. Acclaimed horror director, Stuart Gordon, has also taken this horrible story of inhumanity but has turned it into an excruciatingly funny and dark film that surprises as much as it shocks. You almost feel like apologizing afterwards for having watched it, but you cannot deny how hugely entertaining Gordon’s film is.

Mena Suvari plays the nursing home employee Brandi. Stephen Rea is her victim Tom, a guy who is just trying to get a break and get his life back together after a corporate shuffle. After a night of ecstasy and alcohol Brandi hits Tom, smashing his body head-first through her car’s windshield. Brandi panics, drives home and locks the car in the garage with Tom still lodged in the windshield, drifting in and out of consciousness. Coming to the realization that despite her promises that help is not coming Tom musters all his strength and will to free himself from the window and escape for his life.

John Strysik’s script follows the real life story for about half of the film and then it shifts over into full horror bliss as we watch Tom struggle to free himself from the windshield and that nagging, broken wiper arm piercing his side, only to fend off Princess, the Pomeranian nipper of bones and flesh. Stephen Rea is pitch perfect as Tom, Mena is also awesome as Brandi and Russell Hornsby delivers a great performance as her drug selling boyfriend, Rashid; a role he played with the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz as a reference. All three give great performances, and as Hornsby said during the Q&A afterwards, deliver the script with such honesty, that the circumstances and absurdity of Brandi and Rashid’s logic cannot help but solicit laughs and Rea's struggle for freedom and revenge demands cheers from the audience.

Car crashes should never be this entertaining but thank god this one was. Had I given this one a miss I would never know how truly sick I am.

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