In the black comedy Whoops!, the term “till death do us part” takes on a whole new meaning. From the outside Rose and Dave Clements (Elaine Glover and Philip Rowson) seem to have the perfect life. Their respective careers, she is a real estate agent and he has his own building company, are going well and their two inquisitive kids are angels for the most part. If it was not for the accidental murders that Rose keeps committing, one doubts that the couple would have anything to argue about.
Neither Rose nor Dave can quite figure out why Rose has developed an uncanny ability to kill individuals who cross her path. However, when a skittish Rose unintentionally wields her broken stiletto heel into the chest of an unsuspecting jogger, it is Dave who is left to clean up the mess. The fact that this is the second time that such a thing has occurred in a few scant weeks does not sit well with Rose’s devoted hubby. Frankly, Dave cannot help but wonder if his loving wife may actually be a serial killer.
Dave is not the only one pondering the recent rash of murders. When severed body parts begin appearing around town and at organ donor clinics – fortunately the victims had their donor cards filled out – both the media and local police being to take notice. As the bodies pile up, and the likes of Inspector Mary Hickson (Olwen May) get closer to piecing the crimes together, Rose and Dave struggle to keep their secret hidden while trying to maintain the appearance of normality.
The plot of Whoops! may wear similar garb as modern blood soaked horror comedies, however it feels more akin to John Walters’ comedy Serial Mom. Trust me, as a fan of Walters’ 1994 comedy, this is a good thing. Though directors Tony Hipwell and Matt Watts sprinkle in moments of red splatter, most notably in a scene involving Rose’s lecherous boss (Andrew Dunn), the film does not linger on these moments. Hipwell and Watts wisely focus most of their energy on the humour rather than the gore.
Infusing the film with subtle sight gags, such as Rose browsing the ”killerpedia” website, and witty banter, Whoops! works best when it takes satirical jabs at the serial killer genre. It is rather surprising that the film does not exploit this more. Sure there are great pop culture moments, such as when a character states that only Tom Hardy could play him if a movie was made about the murders, but there is plenty of room for Hipwell and Watts to push the boundaries even further. Especially when you factor in the fine performances from the two leads.
Aside from having genuine chemistry and good comedic timing together, Glover and Rowson do a nice job of portraying a normal couple who find themselves in way over their heads. Glover, in particular, offers the right mixture of innocence and devilish curiosity to keep us guessing about her motives. Glover and Rowson manage to hold our interests even when the film occasionally dips into a little too familiar territory at times.
Though it would have been nice had Whoops! been more biting, the performances and sly dialogue make for a rather enjoyable romp.
Saturday, June 14,12:30 PM, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema