Idle Hands

1999

Idle Hands

Critics Consensus

An uneasy mix of slapstick and gore, Idle Hands lacks the manic energy and comedic inspiration required to pull off its goofy premise.

16%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 55

58%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 55,805
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Movie Info

The devil will find work for idle hands to do, so what happens when he goes on the prowl for a partner in crime and ends up with an utterly clueless 17-year-old slacker? The result is a lot more moronics than demonics in the wry comedy-horror IDLE HANDS. Anton Tobias wakes up Halloween morning to discover-after watching some TV and perusing the contents of the fridge, oblivious to the pool of blood on the floor-that his parents have been turned into a couple of headless Halloween decorations. After hanging out with his equally irresponsible friends, Mick and Pnub, Anton discovers that his right hand has a very bloodthirsty mind of its own, and it's hell-bent on wreaking deadly havoc with or without him. Will the gates of Hell open wide at the high school Halloween Dance and drag an innocent soul into eternal damnation? They just might in IDLE HANDS, when the forces of good and evil face off in a showdown full of diabolical comedy and bloodcurdling terror.

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News & Interviews for Idle Hands

Critic Reviews for Idle Hands

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (46)

Audience Reviews for Idle Hands

  • Jun 12, 2018
    Ever since Saturday night/early Sunday morning, my life has been terrible. Well, really, not my life. Just the life of a loved one has been irrevocably changed for the worse. My life is terrible because I get to see a loved one in pain. Pain that I wish I could travel back in time and just make it all go away. So, really, I don't know how much of this review I'll be able to get through or if it's gonna be any good. I have no idea why I decided to watch a movie on a early Sunday night that I should have been worried about other, more pertinent matters. And, really, I have no idea why it had to be THIS particular movie and not something else. Something that would, probably, cheer me up a bit more. This is probably not the reason I chose this instead of something else, but I remember seeing trailers of this movie back in 1999. And I vividly remember a scene in the trailer where Jessica Alba's character (Molly), who's tied to the hood of a car, has her angel costume ripped off by Anton and she's just left in her bra and panties. I also remember seeing an ass shot in the trailer. Or maybe I'm mistaking it for another late-90s horror flick. But, anyway, this female exposure blew my mind at 11-years-old. Little did 11-year-old me know that he'd look at this in his 30th year of existence and he wouldn't even look twice. I've seen some shit, man! I suppose no review of this movie is complete (from my point of view) without talking about, probably, the worst decade for the horror genre, the 90s. A decade that, until the arrival of Scream more than halfway through the decade (1996), had no real identity of its own. Most of the 90s, really, was the leftover of the Jason and Freddy Krueger era. Scream changed all that, now it was cool for horror to poke fun at its tropes. I mean, not that some 80s movies didn't play with this, but Scream popularized it in the 90s. It made it ok for horror movies to be self-aware while also not taking themselves too seriously. I think Scream, at its time, was revolutionary and it changed everything. That's why a lot of subsequent horror movies tried to capture that same vibe and failed. It's not that Scream, at least in my opinion, is the best horror franchise ever, but they did employ a style that was very influential for its time. Of course, now, Scream looks a little bit outdated, even if, outside the third one, I'd say it's still an enjoyable franchise. That's neither here nor there. This isn't a movie that tries to capture a Scream vibe, but it definitely had a more comical approach to its story and, really, how could it not? The concept is so ridiculous. Basically, the devil, I think, ends up possessing the laziest hand of the laziest person imaginable. Hence the name of the title, borrowing from that bible passage 'Idle hands are the devil's workshop'. It's a movie using that phrase as its literal concept. And, honestly, it's an interesting concept...for about 20 minutes. Like once you get used to the idea that Anton's hand is possessed by the devil then all it becomes is a series of uninspired attempts at slapstick where Anton has to fight his hand away from its attempts to murder as many people as it possibly can. Anton's hands murdered his parents, these twins that worked a fast food restaurant, and even his own friends, Mick and Pnub. For one reason or another, Mick and Pnub come back to life as is. He shoved a broken bottle into Mick's head and decapitated Pnub with a saw blade. Now, of course, you may be asking yourself why Mick and Pnub came back to life in the first place. Of course, you may also tell yourself that this is a movie where the devil takes possession of the laziest man on earth's hand and uses it to murder people. So, naturally, you're not gonna be looking for logic in a movie with this concept, right? Right?!!? Well, I mean, you're not. But I still would have very much enjoyed to have seen some actual explanation for why Mick and Pnub came back to life. Maybe they felt the movie was too unfunny without them and to that I would say they were wrong. The movie is just as unfunny with them in it as it is without them. Not that this is a bad movie, it's certainly watchable, it's just that it's very much a product of its time. Perhaps it's not as glaring as, say, an 80s movie, which you can just tell from tone, music, clothes, etc. I guess you could say the same about this movie, but the 90s don't have those same identifiable qualities as the 80s. Anyway, this is stoner/slacker comedy and, I don't know, I just wasn't feeling most of it. The best stuff in the entire movie comes when Anton cuts off his hand, puts it in a microwave and cooks it until it's "destroyed". Mick and Pnub let the hand escape when they want to heat up a burrito. The slapstick surrounding Anton trying to control his hands got old pretty quickly and we should have gotten to this point of Anton finally cutting it off much quicker than we did. It's also the fact that Devon Sawa's performance, when he's trying to keep his hand under control, reminds me waaaay too much of Peter Sellers' performance in Dr. Strangelove, since Dr. Strangelove himself could not control his own hand's actions. And, let's be honest, Devon Sawa is no Peter Seller and, quite frankly, I think Devon would be the first to say this. Of course, it's not like the movie's much better after the hand is cut off, but it is still better. I wouldn't give this more than two stars anyway. One of the more inspired bits is when, during the climax, the hand finds its way inside a puppet (from those puppet theater things) and Mick, Anton and Pnub proceed to actually fight with it or, rather, attempt to overpower it as he's attempting to take Molly's soul to the netherworld. Why the hand needs souls to take to the netherworld is, again, beyond me, but let's not ask too many questions here, I guess. Anyway, the whole bit with the puppet itself is actually surprisingly funny. Perhaps it's nothing that would blow anyone else away, but in a movie that definitely needed inspired bits, I'm glad that we actually got one...or two. I don't know what else to say about this movie, really. It's silly, it's absurd and it's over-the-top. It's not the worst movie I've ever seen, not by a country mile, but there's nothing that really stands out about this movie now that I'm a couple of days removed from watching it. It's watchable, for sure, but there's better movies out there worthier of your time. Not gonna complain too much, but this didn't really blow me away, so I can't exactly give it a glowing recommendation.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2011
    Super campy fun!! Ok, it's not funny or scary but it's certainly fun to watch. A real bad cast of actors that didn't make this film any better except Seth and Devon who were great. The idea of having a demonic hand killing teenagers is campy but making it alive is a real challenge.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2011
    This is a gruesome but fun horror comedy about a super lazy teenaged slaker who's right hand gets possessed by evil and goes on a killing spree. Plotwise, that's it. There's really nothing mroe to this movie. I mena, there's a bit of a love story going on, and it's a high school movie, but really, that's just extra stuff. The real focus is just about the killer hand and the bum trying to stop it before too much mayhem gets caused. This movie really seems like it's gonna be stupid and suck, and yes, while it's by no means intelligent or brilliant, it's super entertaining and a great deal of fun. As far as horror comedy movies go, it's far more campy and schlocky than Scream. It's slapsticky in the vien of Evil Dead II (which it references/parodies constantly and not subtly), but it avoids being a total ripoff, so it's cool. The characters, though goofy, lazy, good for nothing stoners, are likeable and it's hilarious watching them banter back and forth and try to deal with such a ludicrous situation as a killer hand on the loose. Jessica Alba is also in this as the hottie love interest, and, while she's not great, this was early in her career so her flaws can be overlooked (I think). For a comedy, this is quite gruesome, but it's almsot always played for laughs, even though it does get a little disturbing at times. Maybe here and there some legitimately intense moments pop up, but this is mostly just wacky instead of being a truly scary experience. The effects are good though and Christopher Hart (who played Thing in the Addams Family movies) is awesome as the possessed hand once it SPOILER gets chopped off and starts roaming free. LIke many high school movies, the climax takes place at a school dance, only here it's a Halloween ball instead of prom. For rock fans, it's also cool seeing The Offspring play the band perfporming at the dance. Without getting into specifics, they also are part of one of the best bits of the movie. Overall, this is some silly stuff, and I shouldn't be giving it the credit I am, but I first saw this at an impressionable age, and it left a pretty good impression on me, and I think it's pretty charming. Yeah, it's not great, but as far as B-movies like this go, it could be a whole lot worse. Besides, where else are you gonna see people using an asthma inhaler as a hash pipe? Shut your brain off and give this a chance. It's ridiculous, but quite fun.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2011
    Inept attempt at a comedy horror film, Idle Hands is one of those forgettable horror comedies that has a boring, unimpressive teen cast. Seth Green was the only one in this film that made it a little bit funny, and everyone else was pretty awful. Devon Sawa was never a good actor to begin with, and his skills are pretty mediocre here. The film sucks. The plot might've been something very good if the screenwriters would've written another draft of the screenplay, but they didn't. The film feels, tired, lazy and uninspired. Jessica Alba has always been good at one, providing a films eye candy, and she doesn't disappoint in this. But as usual, her acting abilities leave a lot to be desired. The film might've been good when first released, but it's one of those films that really doesn't stand the test of time, and now, over a decade after the films release; you see that it's not a good movie. Sure it's not the worst, but it's still bad. Idle Hands could have been a lot better; the film could have been something really funny. Unfortunately it falls flat. Idle Hands is definite a poor attempt at horror comedy, one that everyone should forget about. Idle Hands is not a film that has stood the test of time, the film has become unfunny very quick and it's easily one of the worst horror comedies in quite some time. Luckily for horror fans, there have been better horror comedies since this films release. Forgettable and avoidable film. Aside from Jessica Alba, this film is awful.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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