Bought on a whim from a thrift store after vaguely remembering Cheyenne Tyler mentioning she liked it in high school, Repo turned out to be a surprisingly fun trip into a nonsensically stylish and gory musical. Like a damaged record it takes a while for it to catch on and find its preserved quality, but when it shines, good god, it shines.
Despite its over the top aesthetic and almost laughable lyrics, there is a genuine dedication to its execution that is found within the actors’ bizarre performances with Bill Mosely, Anthony Head, and Sarah Brightman all stealing the show from each other. Even Paris Hilton manages to be entertaining. The dedication is also found within the production design, costumes, and color palette that some may describe as “Hot Topic: The Movie” but I will honestly give Repo more credit than that.
Despite the assumptive (and inevitable) fact that an idea like this would never do well theatrically, so much passion had to have been injected into the production for a film that looks and feels so insane. With the director and producers of several “Saw” films on the team, the film’s visuals are glazed in hyper-saturation. The gore becomes that more eye catching, the porcelain skin of the feminine sopranos that more blinding, and every other color within its splatterpunk rainbow that more stunning.
Despite the stage musical being made in 2002, Repo feels like a product purely of its time. Released in 2008, the movie feels as if it took pieces of flesh from the early 21st century’s finest of goth rock and the like and threw it into a blender culminating in its strange birth. Organs from My Chemical Romance, Dresden Dolls, and Cradle of Filth can be tasted despite its music being vastly different from their genres. One of the few movies from the “New Age of MTV” generation that is actually good, Repo! The Genetic Opera is a strangely charming and under appreciated niche musical.