The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - INOPERABLE | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - INOPERABLE

inoperable review
A young woman awakens in a hospital and finds herself caught in an inexplicable time loop.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Christopher Lawrence Chapman

Starring: Danielle Harris, Jeff Denton, Katie Keene, Chris Hahn

inoperable dvd

Inoperable opens with the viewpoint of someone being wheeled into a hospital - the camera looking up from the gurney.

“The patient is suffering broken ribs and a pulmonary contusion,” the helpful hospital staff say, worriedly looking down at you, the patient.

Also, a storm is coming and the hospital is understaffed.

Next we see a woman stuck in traffic, the camera zooming in on seemingly inconsequential things such as the radio and the time, and the back of the car in front of her. This is Amy, played by horror scream queen Danielle Harris (a Halloween frequent player).

She awakens back in that hospital, but now it's empty and she meanders about yelling “hello!”

There’s an evacuation announcement repeating endlessly.

She finds a dark room with a TV warning of an approaching weather emergency - Hurricane Sybil.

Wandering into a psych ward, it seems the hospital is not as abandoned as once thought. She witnesses a counselling session but neither the patient nor the doctor seem to see or hear her when she tells them they should be evacuating.

She’s not seen by the priest giving last rites, or the many hospital staff that rush past her.

She cuts her foot on a needle and tends to her bleeding foot.


The next thing you know she is back in her car, the same things are zoomed in on and she wakes in the hospital again; only this time it’s not abandoned in her ward, people see her and she’s treated like a dangerous criminal.

There’s some sort of surgery going on with seemingly the least skilled surgeons on the planet as they pull out stringy lengths of intestine from a barely conscious man.

She cuts her foot again, this time on glass.

And wouldn’t you know it, there are ghouly types loitering about the halls.

There is a mad doctor and an inept policeman (Ryan - Jeff Denton) with his busty date (Jen - Katie Keene), whom Amy befriends and ‘rescues’ when the mad doctor turns torturer.

Someone dressed as an extra from The Matrix appears out of nowhere to attack Ryan the inept policeman, and Amy is still running, running, running around the hallways.

She suffers a nosebleed and suddenly she’s back in her car again, and before you know it, back in that goshdarned hospital.

She keeps seeing the same people, but this time Ryan explains that if they die ‘there’ they’ll just keep on time looping.

He goes on to say that Jen is someone he picked up at a party as a witness to a drug deal gone bad. He was on his way off the island and got stuck in the same congestion as our hero did, which led to an accident. He escorted them both to the hospital to clear them. He then drops the bombshell that all that had happened four years prior and he’d been stuck in the time loop with Jen trying not to die ever since.

It seems the scientists/doctors were messing with something that mixed all the timelines together; an odd scene meant to convey her confusion but which actually just looks as though she is being dragged around on a skateboard with the camera looking up at her follows this revelation.


This is a groundhog day where everything repeats but everything is slightly different, as each time it repeats they are at a different point in the time loop.

Essentially, Amy has until the hurricane passes to solve why this is happening and learn whatever the time loop is trying to teach her.

The end, when it arrives, is a nice, though not entirely surprising, twist.

As written and directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, Inoperable enjoys some pleasing steadicam cinematography and some unusual framing that adds to the slightly off-kilter feel.

The always watchable Harris makes the best of a character who is unfortunately limited to being only reactive, and the audience may struggle to identify with someone we know so little about.

The repetition gets old quick; stuck watching the ‘action’ in the same featureless hospital, it seems we are also in a hellish time loop ourselves as tedium sets in.

There’s also some on-the-nose dialogue such as this exchange between the two women - “you should try Nyloft mascara, it doesn’t run.”

“You should be a model.”

Yeah, because that’s what women talk about, even when in a time loop and running from evil doctors - please!

Though it is somewhat explained later, its placement within the film could have been at a less fraught time.


The basic time loop hook is a familiar one by now and has been done so much better in films such as Before I Fall and Happy Death Day, which with their added ‘death’ elements are closest in sub-genre to Inoperable.

This iteration features torture by doctors and medical personnel, and three bland main characters whom it’s difficult to care for. Unfortunately the story is so convoluted that it eats itself before it can really make a lot of sense; it feels like a short film stretched into a feature length one.

This has a kernel of a good, though not entirely original idea with a few unique quirks that could’ve worked well in a film with a smaller, more concentrated cast (too may bit players spoil the broth and muddy the focus). A little less repetition and more time spent within each repetition would have given it less of an episodic feel and made the storyline cleaner. But above all, this needed a much tighter script with more clearly defined characters.

Inoperable had potential, but got too lost in its own swamp of ideas and torture porn and ‘who was that guy again?’ to have the impact it should have.

Better luck next time around.

Inoperable is on DVD and VOD February 6th.