STUCK — * 1/2 — Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea; rated R (profanity, violence, gore, nudity, sex, drugs, vulgarity, racial slurs)

Stuart Gordon has never been the subtlest of filmmakers. In fact, part of the arguable "charm" of his cult-hit horror movies, such as "Re-Animator" (1985), was that they were so over-the-top in terms of violence and other seemingly objectionable content.

But "Stuck" finds him reaching new heights (or depths) of offense, with some very graphic gore and other particularly exploitative material.

What's really disappointing is that, for a change, the veteran director manages to build some tension without going the blood-and-gore route. But the final half of the film is such a bloody mess that it would be laughable ... if it weren't so nauseating.

"Stuck" is based on a real-life incident, one in which a driver left the scene of an auto-pedestrian accident — with the victim still lodged in her windshield.

This version of events stars Mena Suvari as Brandi, a nurse at a care facility for the elderly. She works hard there, which is why she tries to blow off some steam at a club.

Unfortunately, she decides to drive home impaired and accidentally mows down an unlucky jaywalker, Tom (Stephen Rea). He's recently been laid off, and he is looking for a job and a place to stay.

But rather than stop at the accident scene, Brandi drives home and leaves both the vehicle and Tom in the garage, with him still impaled on the windshield glass.

And while she goes to work and tries to figure out a way to cover up her misdeed, he attempts to free himself from the predicament.

Among the many problems with the film, we don't particularly like either of these people. (Gordon and co-screenwriter John Strysik even make Tom a somewhat shady character.)

To their credit, Suvari and Rea try to make us care. But the Irish actor also affects a fake American accent that sounds much like Hugh Laurie's unconvincing one on TV's "House."

"Stuck" is rated R for strong sexual language (profanity, vulgar slang and other frank talk), strong scenes of violent action (vehicular violence, gunplay, a stabbing, explosive and fiery mayhem and violence against women), graphic gore and blood, partial male and full female nudity, simulated sex and other sexual contact, drug content and references (stimulants), crude toilet humor and scatological references and some racial slurs. Running time: 85 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com