Inoperable (2017)

As a hurricane approaches, a woman wakes up in an evacuated hospital. As she tries to figure out what is going on, she discovers that she must escape to survive.

Written by Christopher Lawrence Chapman and Jeff Miller with the former directing as well, the film takes its setting of an abandoned hospital in Florida and mixes it with the impending arrival of a massive hurricane to create a haunting sense of urgency. Here the lead has to first figure where she is, then how she got there, and finally how to escape. The film sets up an interesting way to go about this which creates decent mystery and tension. This goes on for most of the film’s runtime. This part of the film is entertaining and rather fun to watch with plenty of questions and very few answers which work for the story. A little bit after an hour, the film takes a turn toward what may look like a looking resolution. Unfortunately, from there on out until the end, the turns seem forced and put there just to be able to justify some of the film. Finally, the film’s ending wraps everything up in a bit of a cliché ending which creates something that feels like a cop-out and a letdown.

The cast here is led by genre favorite Danielle Harris who does an ok job with her part. She looks appropriately lost throughout most of the film. Her performance is decent but does make it look like she may be bored or uninterested in what is goin g on at times. Thankfully, those moments are fairly few and her general performance is good. The rest of the cast is also decent with the better performances coming from Katie Keene as Jen and Jeff Denton as Ryan. Inoperable has an all-around decent cast with a few really good acting moments.

What really stands-out positively in this film are the practical special effects by Barry Aslinger, David Greathouse, and Beki Ingram. These effects bring to life a few unnecessary operations and their gruesome results. Two of those are particularly great set-ups with one surprise piece that works fantastically well. This being a low-budget film, keeping the major effects to just a few items gave the team behind them the capacity to do excellent work.

On a slightly less positive note, the cinematography in some scenes is downright maddening, cutting just a little off of the top (or bottom) or items which shows a lack of care for details and proper framing. This may be due to artistic choices by cinematographer Giorgio Daveed, problems in execution, or just a lack of planning. That being said, more visually inclined viewers may get annoyed by this.

Other mild issues are found in the décor. While the use of a decommissioned hospital gives the film a great location and a creepy base to work from, small details can annoy including the very teenager-bedroom-like lamps in the hospital rooms throughout the film and a few other details that scream “cute and on sale” more than creepy hospital.

Inoperable is a decently entertaining, serviceable mystery-horror film. It flirts with sci-fi here and there; something some will wish was explored more and has a letdown ending that could have been much different had the film fully stayed with its sci-fi elements. As it is, it’s a fun, but rather forgettable film with some fantastic practical effects thrown in here and there. The end is hit or miss depending on each viewer’s feelings toward such “surprise” endings.

Inoperable will open in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Cleveland and Minneapolis for weeklong runs.