(Ted Nicolaou, USA, 1993)


To connoisseurs of the video market, the name of producer-director Charles Band means something.

For years Band worked the exploitation end of the film and video industries, specialising in odd and sometimes extremely inventive horror-thriller-comedies such as the marvellous Future Cop (1985). In the tradition of Roger Corman, Band brought a sense of fun and surrealism to many a video quickie.

Since the cult lustre seems to have disappeared from his devil-may-care B movie projects, Band has turned in recent years to more mainstream concerns. Rather disconcertingly, this has resulted in strange family-oriented entertainments from Band and his collaborators – cut-rate, customised versions of Jurassic Park (1993), Drop Dead Fred (1991) or Home Alone (1990). The Band version of Free Willy (1993) is surely not far away at this point.

As has always been the principle in B movie rip-offs, Band's trick is to combine as many recently successful hooks as possible in the one story. So Remote is a mish-mash of elements: a whiz-kid (Chris Carrara) with a garage full of cute, home-made, techno gadgets; a lightly dysfunctional Mom and Pop who are never home; and a trio of bumbling, comic criminals. Almost the entire action takes place in a deserted house where the kid outwits and torments the crooks, Home Alone style, with his battery of remote controlled, flying, talking toys.

Band has here delegated direction to his protégé Ted Nicolaou, who showed great promise in the riotously tacky TerrorVision (1986). But Nicolaou can do little with this material except lay on a thin veneer of bland cuteness, and send the camera along for a dizzying ride on the back of every mobile toy in sight.

MORE Band: Dollman vs Demonic Toys

© Adrian Martin June 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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