Cast: Danielle Harris, Katy Keene, Jeff Denton
Directed by: Christopher Lawrence Chapman
Written by: Christopher Lawrence Chapman, Jeff Miller
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Inoperable is horror’s version of the popular Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day”. Danielle Harris, perhaps today’s most prolific “scream queen” stars as Amy, a woman who has arrived at a hospital following an accident and relives the day over and over in a terrifying loop of homicidal doctors, nurses, and orderlies who are trying to kill her.
The film is directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, who also co-wrote the script with Producer Jeff Miller following their collaboration on the surprisingly fun “Clowntown” in 2016. This is another low-budget horror that makes effective use of its small sets as the entire film takes place within the confines of the same area of the hospital or Amy’s car.
Amy finds herself trapped in traffic as a hurricane approaches her area. Suddenly she awakes in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. She removes the IV from her arm, dresses, and begins to explore the hospital. At first the people she encounters ignore her as if she is invisible. This scenario repeats itself over and over, with the staff now chasing Amy down. As she explore she is subject to various horrors, as she sees the doctors performing gruesome surgeries on people.
Amy encounters a model and sheriff’s officer who are trapped within the same loop of time and surmise that it has something to do with a nearby military installation and the effects of the hurricane. Amy pieces together another piece of the puzzle each time the loop restarts in an effort to finally escape.
If you get the idea that Inoperable is sparsely plotted, you’re right on target, Amy repeats the same basic steps each time she awakes in the hospital, using the fragments of memories she’s retained to make subtle changes in her actions. Unfortunately for Jen (the model) and Ryan (the Sheriff), they are stuck being tortured and killed over and over until Amy can break the loop.
Katie Keene (Jen) and Jeff Denton (Ryan) both were in the cast of “Clowntown” so are used to be hunted down by homicidal maniacs although this time they are less…clowny. They get the brunt of the torture throughout and definitely seem to be having a lot of fun. Danielle Harris is best known for her roles in the Halloween franchise both as a child actor in the original series as well as in the Rob Zombie remake films as an adult. She is as close as we have these days to a 1980s style scream queen. She’s been able to elevate her game from simple prey in early films to a vulnerable yet tough protagonist in films like the Hatchet series.
The biggest drawback to Inoperable is its fatal predictability. The film employs a plot device that has become all too common these days and is probably going to spoil a bit of the suspense to veteran horror fans. Despite the flaw, Inoperable manages to make the ride a large part of the fun with its frenetic pace and gruesome imagery.
Feature-length commentary with writer/producer/director Christopher Lawrence Chapman, writer/producer Jeff Miller, actors Jeff Denton and Katie Keene