Several kooky-crazy shaggy dog stories intersect in this evenly-paced crime-horror farce from writer-director Juan Ortiz, which has a deadpan Coens-esque fatalism combined with a streak of millennial lunacy. Amanda (Sabina Friedman-Seitz), young and married and with a tenuous hold on reality and sanity, consults book-hawking, plausible, mercenary pop shrink Dr Scotti (Michael Richardson) about her various paranoias and neuroses. She’s especially disturbed by the plight of her mild-mannered co-worker Walter (Stan Madray), who keeps showing up at the office with fingers clipped off and very thin explanations involving a new-bought bandsaw and a hobby of whittling animal shapes for the garden.
Amy investigates, and finds that Walter is being persecuted by masked lowlifes, Talky Panda (Jeremy Gardner, also seen in Bliss and Sadistic Intentions) and Quiet Clown (Sterling William), who keep showing up – at the behest of oddly sincere criminal mastermind Fox (Michael St Michaels, of The Greasy Strangler) – with shears to dock his digits, taking a nasty pleasure in taunting him as he begs for an explanation. It’s a dry joke that the persuasive therapist presumes Walter is cutting off his own fingers and that Amanda’s explanation is a symptom of her own demented state – sending her down a route whereby she questions the wrong part of her reality and starts believing that Dr Scotti is just a voice she hears in her head.
Meanwhile, altruistically, she intervenes by working on weak link Panda by dognapping his beloved mutt Toad Boy – you kind of have to admire a filmmaker who has a character name his dog after that unforgettable minor character in Ghoulies – and threatening harm to it unless mercy is shown to Walter, a tactic that underestimates how uncontrolled and basically stupid the hired fingersnipper really is. It’s an all-over-the-place movie which plays its absurdities mostly straight – though Gardner is off the leash in his white trash maniac performance, everyone else is ridiculously phlegmatic about how awful things are getting, with Fox eventually showing up in Walter’s kitchen for a heart to heart that offers a highly unsatisfactory explanation for the horrors visited on the poor feeb and sets up a perfect punchline.
Seemingly aimless for a lot of its running time, Finger is actually tightly constructed – with missed messages and misapprehensions interlocking like watch parts to deliver the desired outcome. Taylor Zaudtke, star of Sadistic Intentions, has a funny bit part here.
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