Despite a range of characters, OUTSIDE OZONA is an offensive, Christian-bashing, clichÈ-filled dour drama literally without a heart, about a bible-quoting murder, and other motley crews who all listen to country/blues on KWOK in rural Texas. With only a limited release, presumably in the South where folks might “appreciate” this corn-pone ensemble picture, this move substitutes characterization for characters and crass for class. Also, it has an unclear premise and theme.
The movie opens with a young woman, murdered in her car, on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Shortly thereafter, small groups of unrelated strangers including ex-stripper Earlene (Penelope Ann Miller) and her carnival clown boyfriend Whit (Kevin Pollak), Odell (Robert Forster), a trucker who befriends an attractive Native American woman Reva (Kateri Walker) and her dying grandmother, and a pair of bickering sisters (Sherilyn Fenn and Beth Anne Styne), who give a lift to a quirky psychiatrist Alan (David Paymer). All listen to KWOK as they drive their through the night.
At the radio station, dope-smoking Dix (Taj Mahal) fills the airwaves with country/western/blues and more. When the serial killer calls into the station, Dix is there to record it and help the FBI in their pursuit. A few of the women characters are killed, and all of these strangers end up meeting in a climax involving wreckage, explosions and more deaths.
The theme of this movie is hard to guess. Though the killer is avenged, it gives no motive, and no lessons are learned. Even Dix makes a few cryptic comments at the end and signs off, leaving the viewer confused. While every white-trash character is evident, every clichÈ granted to each stereotype is also evident. Only the kind-hearted trucker played by Forester and the young Native American woman add any dignity to this otherwise tacky and tasteless story. Most alarming of all is the inclusion of yet another Bible-quoting, deranged serial killer. His character is perhaps the most glossed over and unsubstantiated. It is almost as if the writer/director simply wanted to make a very broad, blanket statement against Christians.
Filmed almost entirely at night, the movie attempts a sort of rural noir, like the earlier CLAY PIGEONS. Yet, without a purpose, no clear plot or meaning, OUTSIDE OZONA (an actual small town in Texas) remains only a testament to stupidity and anti-Christian bigotry. It is best to make a bypass and stay OUTSIDE OZONA.
Pagan worldview with strong, anti-Christian, Bible-quoting serial killer character; 69 obscenities & 13 profanities; moderate violence including some punching & fighting scenes, man hits woman with metal bar, tanker truck explodes & implied grisly murders; women strip at club & implied oral sex; obscured full female nudity; alcohol use & drinking while driving; smoking & marijuana use by one character; and, gross images of murder victims including blood & organs.