Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman [Other horror films: Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), Saw IV (2007), Mother’s Day (2010), 11-11-11 (2011), The Devil’s Carnival (2012), The Barrens (2012), Angelus (2014), Tales of Halloween (2015, segment ‘The Night Billy Raised Hell’), Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival (2016), Abattoir (2016), St. Agatha (2018), Death of Me (2020), Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)]
So I’ve seen this about three times, and it’s still not really my go-to when it comes to horror musicals. The style is something I don’t care too much for, and some of it’s just a bit too slapstick for me, but at the same time, I do think it’s a movie worth experiencing at least once.
A big issue I have with Repo! The Genetic Opera is that I don’t really care for many of the songs. Many are in a very industrial style, and one’s randomly an Avril Lavigne-inspired punk song. Still, there are some I rather enjoy, such as ’21st Century Cure,’ ‘Genetic Repo Man,’ ‘Inopportune Phone Call,’ ‘Zydrate Anatomy,’ ‘Chase the Morning’ (my favorite song by far), ‘Let the Monster Rise,’ ‘I Didn’t Know I Loved You So Much,’ and ‘Epitaph’. That may seem like a lot of songs, but there were quite a few that I didn’t enjoy at all. Part of it was how half of the songs were more spoken than sung, such as ‘Shilo Wake,’ which I just found awkward.
The cast here, though, is pretty solid, save for some characters I didn’t care for. Alexa Vega (who I know best from Spy Kids, a series I watched when I was a kid) did very well with her character, and her songs with her father, played by Anthony Head, were highlights of the film (especially ‘I Didn’t Know I Loved You So Much’). Head was amazing, his tragic back-story was on point, and the two sides of his personality were fantastic.
Terrance Zdunich cracked me up with his ‘GRAAVVVEEESSS’ line from ’21st Century Cure,’ and I also really liked his style in ‘Zydrate Anatomy’ (some mighty fine print). I sort of wish his character was more involved in the plot, but he was fun regardless. Another solid casting choice was Paul Sorvino as the main antagonist, Rotti, who didn’t have any standout songs, but had a great character. Sarah Brightman’s last scene was great, as was her portion of ‘Chase the Morning,’ but her character wasn’t really on my radar most of time.
What bothered me most insofar as the cast was concerned were Rotti’s three children, played by Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, and Kevin ‘ohGr’ Ogilvie. Technically, the acting was fine, but I really didn’t like the over-the-top nature of these three, especially Moseley. Otherwise, like I said, the cast is fine, but boy, these characters just got on my nerves.
Obviously, what with the repossession of organs being prevalent to the plot, there’s some decent gore here, but much of it is more for slapstick value than it is shock. It’s done decently well, and though not often the focus, does occasionally stand out, especially in a scene toward the end regarding eyes and an iron fence.
Having seen this musical multiple times, it’s still not something I find myself enjoying as much as I wish I could. Some songs are great, but others are just sort of there, and that combined with some ridiculous characters really brings this down. If musical horror is something you’re interested in (and there’s not many other choices save Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), I’d give this a look, but you may not be blown away.