Master of horror director Stuart Gordon chose great material from the news to build a film around but he really should have put the same amount of thought into his casting.
Based on a true story, the film follows the events of a car accident. Retiring home nurse Brandy (Mena Suvari) hits Tom Bardo (Stephen Rea), a homeless man, on her way home from a club. She soon realizes, however, it is difficult to flee the scene of a crime when the evidence is wedged in your windshield. But Brandy is a determined woman. She drives home with Tom hanging halfway out of her windshield, all the while trying to keep his blood from staining the passenger seat. She stashes the car in the garage and tries to forget it ever happened. Eventually, Tom becomes too much of a nuisance and Brandy asks her boyfriend (Russell Hornsby) to help her take care of the problem.
When conceptualizing the story for the film, Gordon and writer John Strysik varied the final act from the true-life occurrence the film is based on, choosing a more crowd-pleasing conclusion. This is a departure from the director’s adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft narratives, but it still deals with similar anxieties and fears. Stuck is not really a horror movie, but it still hits you in the same place.
The actors embrace their roles in the crime and give adequate portrayals of their characters but there is nothing exceptional about most of their performances. Suvari passes as the callous victimizer and Hornsby is energetic but still lacks credibility. On the other hand, Rea stands out as he thoroughly suffers and struggles for survival.
In such an absurd situation, comedy is imminent and Gordon and Strysik take full advantage of the unusual circumstances. While hitting someone with a two-by-four may not sound funny, it can be when the hitter claims not to mean any harm.
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