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Capone stalks Kim Basinger and her red toolbox in WHILE SHE WAS OUT!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. I'm actually really glad I didn't know that Guillermo del Toro was an executive producer on this film until after I was done watching it and had formulated my thoughts and feelings on it. Not by any means that having Del Toro's name attached to a film means it gets an instant pass in my book, but knowing that going in would have forced me to look for something, anything, about this movie that would have drawn Del Toro to put his name on it. My guess is that he had nothing to do with the making of the WHILE SHE WAS OUT, but saw it completed and liked it enough to lend his name to the production as a sort of seal of approval. If I'm wrong, I'll happily admit it. But the fact is, there is something remarkably twisted about this seemingly straightforward story of a frustrated housewife named Della (played with horrified glee by Kim Basinger) who is being chased through her suburban world by a group of wanna-be gangsters, led by the surprisingly effective Lukas Haas as Chuckie, a guy who looks like he just decided to become a tough guy earlier that same day, bought a gun, and just went ape-shit crazy during the Christmas rush at the local mall. Co-written and directed by first-timer Susan Montford (a producer on SHOOT ‘EM UP and the upcoming Del Toro-produced SPLICE), While She Was Out thankfully takes the time to map out Della's unsatisfied life as wife and mother of two. She lives in a great neighborhood, drives an SUV, and has an abusive asshole of a husband (Craig Sheffer) who demands a clean house and well-behaved kids. I was getting a littler nervous in the beginning of the film when Sheffer walks into their home, sees toys scattered everywhere, and wonders out loud why the house isn't clean ("What do you do all day?" he screams.). It seemed just a little too patented "Evil Husband" for my tastes. But blessedly Della has places to go once her husband gets home, and she hops in her car and heads to the mall for some last-minute shopping. Again, Montford lingers longer than most films might to show Basinger watch happier women, couples, and families at the mall go through their holiday rituals. It's a very sad opening that serves to make what Della goes through later and how she handles all the more poignant. After leaving a note on a car taking up three parking spaces in a jam-packed mall lot, she returns from her shopping to find the owners of the car waiting for her--four young punks who seem intent on at the very least verbally harassing her, at the very worst, raping and/or killing her. After a mall cop attempts to stop anything bad from happening, he is shot dead by one of the hooligans and Della gets the hell out of there with the carful of punks hot on her trail. What follows is a fascinating chase that lands the hunted and hunters running and hiding through an under-construction subdivision. Della is forced to abandon her vehicle, but she does think to grab her faithful small red toolbox, which seemed hilarious to first. But as anyone handy with a set of tools (or anyone who has seen THE TOOLBOX MURDERS) can tell you, a well-stocked toolbox is just a shiny collection of weapons waiting to be used in creative ways. What's even funnier is that the gang of thugs is convinced that Della has something valuable in the red box, and they amp up their pursuit even after one of their numbers dies accidentally while chasing after the lovely MILF. When the chase leads the remaining four into the woods surrounding the housing development, things get a bit more surreal. But you can't help but be impressed by how handy Della is with her tools, and she comes up with some damned creative ways to disable or dispose of her assailants. I was impressed by the films never-stop-to-breath pacing, and Lukas Haas as a deranged stalker grew on me as well. What never quite works is the United Colors of Benetton make-up of the gang--one white guy, one black guy, one Asian, one Latino. Uh huh, just like in real life. Still, that bit of silliness only added to my giddiness as I watched the still-beautiful Basinger get put through the paces. There are even less than subtle hints that she finds Chuckie more of a man than her own husband, and considers falling for his creepy seduction tactics. Look, WHILE SHE WAS OUT is no prizewinner, it's not particularly ground-breaking, it probably cost about $2.50 to make, and the plot is thread bare. I'm certainly not trying to make a case for this film being a masterpiece on any scale. But, I got into the spirit of the chase, and Basinger made me care about what happened to Della, a smart and resourceful woman who does pretty much the same things I would have done under the circumstances--she grabs anything she thinks can be used as a weapon. You know how I'd like to see this film again? With a group of friends on a Saturday night with the lights off and sound turned up just a little too loud. If you have a "horror night" with your friends once a month, or something like that, this film would slide in that rotation quite nicely. The film is in the midst of a nationwide limited release before its DVD release on April 28, so you may have to search around your immediate vicinity to see if it’s playing near you. -- Capone

Readers Talkback
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  • April 17, 2009, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by Kief_Ledger

  • April 17, 2009, 9:34 a.m. CST

    This one is already out on DVD for months in Germany.

    by DerLanghaarige

    But I stopped sending reviews of movies that hit europe earlier than the USA to this site years ago.

  • April 17, 2009, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a good movie

    by liljuniorbrown

    Sometimes a "thread bare plot" isn't such a bad thing. This is the kind of stuff people like.Not shit like The Strangers,or Funny Games, where the victims are so dumb and helpless that you're wanting to yell at the screen the entire movie.I'll never forgive this site for reccomending Funny Games. That movie was so fucking horrible it was like one of those fill in the blank Movie(s). Half way through I expected a bad Brittney Spears impersonator to show up and explain why the husband was such a pussy while shaving her head.

  • April 17, 2009, 10:07 a.m. CST

    what happened to the comments?

    by smudgewhat

    they disamappeared...

  • April 17, 2009, 10:07 a.m. CST

    oh wait, my bad. never mind.

    by smudgewhat

  • April 17, 2009, 12:46 p.m. CST

    It is showing Sat. April 18

    by Mike K

    "WHILE SHE WAS OUT" is showing Sat. April 18 at the Midway Drive-In located in Dixon, Illinois as part of their Spring HorrorFest triple feature. Check for info.

  • April 17, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Sounds cool

    by SpawnofAchilles

    I want to check it out now, thanks Capone.

  • April 17, 2009, 5:02 p.m. CST

    I support Alec Baldwin.

    by FlickaPoo

  • April 17, 2009, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Already on DVD in Australia too.

    by Paul T. Ryan

    And has been for about two or three months.

  • April 18, 2009, 4:19 a.m. CST

    Can't be bothered.

    by MaxTheSilent

    That's the truth of this film. Who cares?

  • April 18, 2009, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Kim Basinger = Milfy goodness

    by johnnyangelheart

    I'll watch it just for that.

  • April 18, 2009, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Old Enough to Play a Grandma Now

    by BoyNamedSue

    Kim Basinger is 56 now. I looked her up the other day after I watched my Never Say Never Again Blue Ray.......guess she has aged WELL!

  • April 18, 2009, 12:25 p.m. CST


    by ominus

    yeah she used to be,but now she it too old.

  • April 18, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST

    GILF more like it

    by ominus

  • April 18, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Kim Basinger

    by johnnyangelheart

    Yep, I'd tap that. And you know you would, too.

  • April 18, 2009, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Too close to Cellular..

    by banditmania


  • April 20, 2009, 2:54 a.m. CST

    I very rarely complain about reviews...

    by Seph_J

    ...but COME ON.... this is truly a waste of time. Sorry Capone, but I'd be interested to know WHO paid you to be so inoffensive to this miserably lame 'film'. If you like movies where the woman should RUN AWAY but doesn't.... where the 'killers' should CHASE HER but instead argue with each other about who let her get away (or even sit in the forest listening to music!!) then you'll love this. The toolbox is an afterthought... and all she does is hit people with the tools in it... like 3 times. She didn't take her phone with her so she can call for help.... but she CAN find the time to open the boot (trunk, for all the idiots) of the car and pull out a glowing red toolbox.... which fits perfectly with the BRIGHT YELLOW COAT which she insists on wearing whilst trying to hide in the dark forest... I mean COME ON!! I AM ACTUALLY ANGRY ABOUT HOW INSULTING THIS FILM IS! <p> And don't get me started on the "WHERE ARE YOU GOD!" bullshit. <p> An utterly crap film. I would only give it a pass as a competent film made by students just out of film school. But even then, I would watch it once, and then hide it from myself so I'd never have to waste my time on the same crap twice. <p> Sorry... this film is not the worst film ever made... but it isn't NEARLY as 'ok' as Mr. Capone makes it out to be.