With Repo! The Genetic Opera, Paris Hilton practically plays against type. As one of the heirs to the GeneCo biotech company that seemingly rules the world in the not-so-distant future, the debutante shows that she can carry a tune—no small praise given that she shares the screen with Sarah Brightman. Addicted to cosmetic surgery, Hilton’s Amber Sweet scours the ghetto for Zydrate, and in this inane rock opera’s only fierce moment (not counting what Brightman can do with her transplanted peepers, a greater special effect than her soprano), has Terrance Zdunich’s Graverobber inject the pain medication straight into her vag, or thereabouts, while she sings some ditty that would be a Billboard dance hit in a world without Katy Perry. Adapted for the screen by Zdunich and Darren Smith from their original stage play and directed by the brains behind Saw II, III and IV, this digitally-enhanced Rocky Horror-meets-Blade Runner smorgasbord about the skeletons clattering in the closets of both GeneCo president Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino) and his organ-repossessing goon Nathan (Anthony Stewart Head) flickers across the screen loudly and incoherently: From the milieu to the characters, everything registers as a conceit, with the story building annoyingly to a blood feud that is more literal than Shakespearean. The root cause of this world’s devastation may be insufficiently dramatized, but maybe that’s a good thing given the triteness with which each character’s backstory is detailed via inexplicable graphic-novel interjections. Of course, in terms of shrillness, nothing beats the music: Predicated on scant rhymes and loads of lame repetitions, the songs sound as if they were ghostwritten by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Give me torture porn any day.
- Darren Lynn Bousman
- Darren Smith, Terrance Zdunich
- Alex Vega, Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Ogre, Terrance Zdunich, Bill Moseley, Paul Sorvino
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