Don’t Get ‘Stuck’ Watching This Noir Tribute

Rachel Mills

Franz Kafka wrote a surreal book called “The Trial,” which was turned into a movie. It is one of the most bizarre books ever written. It is about a man being tried for an unknown crime, who never meets his accusers and doesn’t know how to defend himself.

“Stuck!” a movie produced by Steve Balderson, is strangely reminiscent of this literary work. The movie is written and directed by Balderson and is co-written by Frankie Krainz and Jon Niccum. Balderson’s production company, Dikenga Films, has made other cult and non-mainstream movies such as “Watch Out” and “Underbelly.”

Shot in black and white, the movie starts with Daisy (Starina Johnson, “Watch Out” 2008) walking in on her mother, (September Carter), who is about to commit suicide. From there, Daisy is wrongly convicted of her mother’s murder and soon she is sentenced to death. When she arrives on death row, her life becomes a living hell, due to the most evil prison warden (Stacy Cunningham) in history.

Other than the warden, Daisy meets a slew of other women on death row. Meme (Susan Traylor) is doing time for killing her four husbands. Princess (Jane Wiedlin), a woman who killed her own baby is in Meme’s cell and usually repeats the last thing Meme says. It’s never really understood exactly what crime, Ester (Mink Stole), a strict Christian woman, did to get into prison, but she’s there. And finally, Dutch (Pleasant Gehman) is in jail for killing a cop by accident.

Maybe it’s the sentencing process that makes this movie’s plot vaguely familiar to that of “The Trial.” Daisy’s conviction process does not seem at all authentic or real. The events subsequently make it seem even more surreal.

Daisy’s next-door neighbor, the one who called the crime in to the authorities, is part of a dual plot while Daisy is on death row. She thought that she saw Daisy kill her mother, but suddenly she second guesses herself and is stuck without knowing what really happened.

It’s clear that this movie is supposed to inspire the feeling of watching an old film noir, but it falls flat with the outrageous plot. Not only that, but the actual film quality of this piece of work is just weak. Is the budget of this film equal to that of Kevin Smith’s first film, “Clerks”?

At least Smith’s film was entertaining. This film was just boring and disturbing at some points.

The only redeeming aspect of this film is that Daisy and Dutch find themselves falling in love along the way. Their last moments together are touching. The rest of the casts’ interactions and their treatment of Daisy are downright unforgivable. The warden is just too mean. She even lets Daisy be gang raped by a few of her adoring fans.

There is an element to this film that is weird and it is unclear as to what the director and writers were attempting to portray by having a such a random character in the film. The character in question is a black woman who wears glasses. Is she supposed to be important and if she is what is her importance? Nothing in this film helps the audience understand the answers to these questions.

A viewer usually watches a movie to experience one of the two “E’s” (to be entertained or enlightened). This movie does neither. It just leaves the viewer wishing she had saved herself the time, and had not seen this movie that seems stuck with being a less than average film.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.