The New Hands is an absurd but occasionally amusing indie slasher from writer-director Brandon Scullion. His film follows Bram Victor (Stephen Wu), who lives with his girlfriend Zora (Lexi Graboski) and works at a laboratory. She greatly admires his hands. So when he gets them damaged in a work accident and Zora leaves him, Bram starts to lose control.
At first, Bram listens to his doctor (Felissa Rose) and sticks to painkillers. However, he quickly becomes obsessed with obtaining new hands despite his still being functional. To that end, Bram starts going around cutting people’s hands off. Bram’s grandma, May (Sally Kirkland), moves in with him right as he tries to keep a low profile.
Scullion’s film has a rough first thirty minutes to get through before it starts offering some fun. The opening scene has the sort of stilted dialogue focused on admiration fitting for a porno. Zora and Bram spend time together, and she shows love for his hands, and it all feels off. It doesn’t help that Wu and Graboski have zero chemistry throughout, and the latter seems disinterested in the material.
“…becomes obsessed with obtaining new hands…”
The New Hands picks up the pace once Bram starts going nuts and slicing people. The kills mostly feel tame, though, when they should be going over the top with gore in order to embrace the insane premise. Some of the makeup is pretty good (especially in the stitching scenes), but I wish the filmmaker went for it more with the bloody practical effects.
The film can’t decide if it wants to dive into a dark satire of physical therapy or be a relationship drama. The tone is all over the place. One scene will have an old lady saying things like “p***y free since ’93.” Another scene will have music bordering on somber. The unevenness doesn’t stop there, as the sound mix is poor throughout. However, Pratham Mehta’s cinematography is actually fluid.
The first act of The New Hands is terrible, but the second and third acts offer occasional horror delights. There are darkly funny moments sprinkled throughout, but Scullion never quite finds his footing. Still, slasher fans may like some of the quirkier story elements.
"…slasher fans may like some of the quirkier story elements."