Mena Suvari exhibits scary self-preservation instincts in Stuck.
STUCK (Stuart Gordon). 85 minutes. Opens Friday (July 18). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Stuart Gordon made his mark as a cult director in the 1980s with Re-Animator and From Beyond, gross-out classics that now play like subversive horror comedies.
After a long sojourn in the wilderness, he’s come roaring back with Stuck, a jet-black thriller laced with biting political satire, inspired by a 2003 incident in which a Texas woman hit a homeless man with her car and left him lodged in the windshield to die before disposing of the body.
Gordon and screenwriter John Strysik have spun that event into a small, sharp thriller about a battle of wills between Stephen Rea’s bleeding, delirious victim and Mena Suvari’s blithely amoral driver, a nursing home worker who makes all the right apologetic noises but refuses to take any responsibility for her actions. She was pretty high at the time, so it’s obviously not her fault, right?
The resulting cat-and-mouse game plays out in excruciating slow motion, as the horribly injured Rea struggles to save himself from Suvari’s monstrous, increasingly demented instinct for self-preservation.
Stuck also finds plenty of opportunities to comment on the sorry state of America’s economy, where the working poor and the unemployed are trapped in separate but equally hopeless cycles. As Rea discovers, you can scream as loud as you want, but nobody’s listening.