Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Movie Review: "Thinner" (1996)

Movie poster for the 1996 horror film Stephen King's Thinner, starring Robert John Burke, Joe Mantegna, Lucinda Jenney, and Bethany Joy Lenz
Image Source
Director: Tom Holland
Year: 1996
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

An obese lawyer named Billy Halleck is cursed by an elderly gypsy man to become thinner after Billy gets off scot-free for running over the gypsy's daughter.

Robert John Burke, an obese lawyer, is confronted by his wife (Lucinda Jenney) and told to go on a diet in a movie still for the 1996 Stephen King horror film adaptation "Thinner"
"Billy, I want you to stop digging your grave with a spoon and fork." (Image Source)
Eating whatever you want and still losing weight sounds like a blessing. In the case of Stephen King's "Thinner," it is most certainly a curse. This film is directed by Tom Holland, who is known for directing movies like "Fright Night," "Fatal Beauty," and the original "Child's Play." He also helped write the screenplay along with Michael McDowell, which is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) is a defense lawyer who works for some unscrupulous characters. He has been on (mostly off) diets his whole life without much success. One night, after celebrating his most recent courtroom victory, he receives a blow job from his wife while driving and accidentally runs over an elderly gypsy woman (Irma St. Paule). Due to his connections within the police department and with the town's sitting judge, Billy gets away with the crime without so much as a slap on the wrist. To get justice for his daughter, the woman's even older gypsy father (Michael Constantine) curses Billy to become thinner...and thinner...and thinner. Billy is elated as he starts dropping weight quickly, thinking his diet is paying off. As he continues to lose weight with no medical clear explanation, Billy might die if he can't figure out a way to stop whatever's happening.
Movie still for the 1996 horror film Thinner where Michael Constantine, Kari Wuhrer, and Terence Kava confront Robert John Burke at their campsite
"It's evolution in reverse!" (Image Source)
There is a lot wrong with "Thinner." The makeup work is pretty damn awful. The fat suit that Robert John Burke wears when he is on the heavier side looks terrible and was nowhere near camera-ready. We can't imagine it looked good even by 1996's standards. It's not like you can expect an actor to go from Christian Bale in "Vice" to Christian Bale in the "The Machinist" throughout a single film shoot. Not even Christian Bale, a master of weight loss and weight gain, could have pulled it off in the time required, but a little more believability would have been nice. You can obviously see the seams whenever Burke walks around or gets close to the camera. It's very distracting (and honestly, a little offensive), to say the least. We will say that the makeup work as he gets thinner and thinner does look decent. Being that "Thinner" is a 1990's horror movie, we expect some elements to be dated, but we have a hunch that the dialogue was exceedingly cringe-worthy even when it was written. Much of the script feels dated and a little grating at times. The characters feel more like one-dimensional, cartoonish stereotypes as opposed to fully realized people. Billy is fat and represents every negative idea people have ever had about overweight individuals since the dawn of time. He is constantly stuffing his face and is rarely (if ever) seen without junk food in his hand. At one point, he may even walk down the street with an oversized turkey leg sticking out of his gullet, who knows, it's mostly a blur of fatphobia and bad decisions. His wife is the stereotypical 'harping nag' of a wife who makes snide comments about his weight in an attempt to get him to change under the guise of love, but still complains even when she gets her wish. Joe Mantegna plays an over-the-top crime boss who presents every cliche in the book. It is sort of painful to watch at times, but we assure you, it's not all bad. There is an undeniable level of fun to this cheesy, darkly comedic horror flick, especially towards the end of its runtime. Some body-horror elements are so bonkers that it 's hard not to smile and giggle while watching it.
Thinner 1996 movie still showing Robert John Burke laughing loudly as he shovels food into his face at his dining room table
"The diet you're on, what is it? I've tried all the others, I might as well try this one." (Image Source)
If you can put the generic, cliche story and fat-shaming aside, "Thinner" might be worth your time for its camp factor, but there are other/better Stephen King horror adaptations than this one. At least we were never bored while watching it.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
RT Rating: 15%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

Please be sure to check out Lolo Loves Films all over the internet!

No comments:

Post a Comment