Maintenance

"Terrible"

Maintenance Review


Good news for all of you serial killers out there. There is finally a film for you! Rush out to your local DVD store and pick up a copy of Maintenance today. You won't regret it. Director-writer-cinematographer-editor Paulo Diaz (in Jerry Lewis's terminology a true "multi-hyphenate") offers all a budding mass murderer would ever want in a film -- unprovoked killings, efficient body disposal, and the kind of surly attitude toward mayhem that is the true mark of serial killer chic.

Diaz opens the film with this inflammatory anti-prisoner reentry statement: "In one year 108,580 prisoners were released from prison in 11 states in the United States. During the first year after their release, the ex-prisoners committed 1438 homicides, 1654 sexual assaults, 14,259 other assaults. Some of these ex-convicts may just be closer to you than you think..." What the hell is Diaz saying here? Is he channeling Himmler and calling for mass executions of the convicted? I don't know about the prisoners but somebody should definitely be given the chemical drip. I state my case below, your honor.

Maintenance hits the ground running. Diaz centers the film on Paul (Mark Masten) as he is being released from prison for unspecified crimes against humanity. He is picked up at the prison door by Jake (Justin Frumkes), a sleazy, smarmy go-getter who doesn't appear to know Paul at all but nevertheless zips him over to an apartment house he is managing and immediately offers him the job as house custodian. Paul skulks and cowers but immediately grabs the plunger and digs in.

Jake is managing the apartment building for his Dad and the dump is undergoing renovations with the exception of two floors that appear to be populated by single young women in robes and running suits. One of the women, newly arrived from Aurora, Illinois is Stephanie (Melissa DeBaca), who naively tells her mother on the phone, "Don't worry. I haven't met any psychos yet." That's what she thinks. She immediately takes a shine to Paul, who comes up to fix her air conditioner and boy is she a bad judge of character! Paul has just finished carving up a victim in his bathtub and dumping her remains into the dumpster because he had to unclog her toilet. And thus the pattern of the film begins: Paul spots a dame, he lets himself into her apartment, and lets his fingers do the killing. When Stephanie comes upon a dead woman in Paul's bathtub, she realizes that she made the wrong choice in a gentleman caller 'cause this guy is calling with a chain saw.

The actors tromp around the cheap rooms and hallways infused with the animal spirit of De Niro and for his rancid influence on these low rent clones De Niro should be ashamed and repent for what he has wrought upon the world. Diaz and screenwriter Paul Mroczka should also be ashamed for the lazy and cynical script writing. The poor victims don't stand a chance. None of them ever get an elevator on time (characters spend much of the running time feverishly pressing elevator buttons for lifts that never arrive), cellphones are left untended, and the doors are always unlocked. To quote Sweeney Todd, "They all deserve to die" -- if only for their stupidity.

In every sense of the word, Maintenance is an ugly film. Stylistically it is ugly -- the canted angles, the puke green tint to the scenes, the glowing whites throbbing like a tumor. Narratively it is ugly -- Paul is like a killer rat dumped in a maze of victims with no explanation or backstory for why he kills these women, he just kills and kills again. Temperamentally it is ugly -- Diaz's tone is hateful and unsympathetic; it is a bleak world of kill or be killed. The entire enterprise is unredeemable.

Repulsive, vile and nasty, Maintenance is the cinematic equivalent of vomit.

Toilet's overflowing again.



Maintenance

Facts and Figures

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th December 2002

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Paulo Diaz

Producer: Alejandro Casinelli, Paulo Diaz, Gianfranco Solimano

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