Monday, August 4, 2014

REVIEW: Septic Man (Starz Digital Media) - FILLS ALL THE BOWLS!

You wake up one sunny Sunday morning. The wife goes to the gym, but before she leaves she cooked you up some pork roll (if you live outside of New Jersey you just substitute a breakfast meat of your choosing since you can't get any of our precious meat). You sit down at your computer to watch a movie that you have to review for an upcoming release. The movie is Septic Man and even though you read the title, you've decided that it's absolutely a good choice. You've watched worse, right? You watched Faces of Death and Traces of Death while eating a roast beef sandwich (and more recently eating raw meat). You even said you were going to watch Cannibal Holocaust while eating turtle soup (and you will soon), so pork roll and a movie about a guy who gets trapped in a sewer... harmless. No. Not harmless, but in fact the perfect combination of gross out I had only hoped I would get from a movie called Septic Man. So that got me to stick around for the next 80 minutes or so, and I have to say that I am ecstatic that I did. Let's get into why.

Synopsis from Starz Digital Media:

From the creators of MONSTER BRAWL, EXIT HUMANITY, and PONTYPOOL comes this award-winning origin story of Jack, a sewage worker who's determined to uncover the cause of the town's water contamination crisis. But when he becomes trapped underground in a septic tank without food or water he undergoes a hideous and repulsive transformation. In order to escape the tank, he must team up with a docile Giant and confront a murdering madman. Hailed as a "stunning," "funny," and "visceral story that will leave you shaken - and desperate for a shower," SEPTIC MAN is a cinematic odyssey into the darkest depths of horror and beyond.

Okay... so are you eating? Are you thinking about eating soon? If you are then skip this paragraph. The opening scene to Septic Man features a woman in a shit covered bathroom, totally disgusto to the max. Filthy, grimy. The woman is shitting and puking and shitting and puking and covered in waste and vomit and sweat and ... I took a bite of pork roll (processed meaty goodness) and watched as she essentially shit and puked herself to death. Didn't expect that. The entire time I'm watching this I keep thinking I probably should put my make shift pork roll sandwich down (it wasn't on a nice roll, no egg, no cheese... it could wait right?... NO). So I ate and watched and eventually the opening scene gave way to some clever sewer pipe related opening credits. My little girl was sitting in her high chair out of visual range of the movie. I looked at her dismantling her own piece of pork roll and gave a little under-my-breath cheer at the screen. She cheered too. This was what I wanted form a movie called Septic Man.

(Readers who were about to eat or had been eating you can rejoin the conversation now).

I was not a fan of Monster Brawl, the other Jesse Thomas Cook movie I had seen. I loved the concept and even some of the creature design, but as a fan of potential wrestling and tournaments, it didn't seem to hold up to even the older, less theatrical pro wrestling cartoons or matches to which I had become accustomed. That didn't give me high hopes for Septic Man. Of course then I read that this feature was written by Tony Burgess, the writer behind Pontypool which is one of the best modern horror movies I've seen in recent years (and you should go pick that up now). That's a 50/50 chance of this working out, and beyond the opening save for a few slow moments, the whole thing went as expected. Perfectly as expected with hints of surprise every so often until the final fifth of the movie which made me cheer and cheer again. We won't give away why.

Septic Man is rather downtrodden for most of the movie, and I wonder if I can attribute most of that to my connection with Jason David Brown as the lead, the titular character. Of course the movie is also filled with vomiting. It doesn't make you feel great about it at least not from an entertainment point of view until close to the end after you've really started to identify with our lead and begin to feel sorry for his pregnant wife. I don't expect you to see the end coming, and I hope you're reaction mirrors mine. I'm pretty sure if I had been with a larger group of people I would have actually jumped out of my seat.

The effects are juicy disgusting. Think Toxic Avenger with less ooze and more puke, very enjoyable for a Troma fan like myself.  Septic Man has an abundance of gratuitous, yucky moments and enough shit to fill ALL THE BOWLS!

I strongly urge you to check this one out. It's on my short list for top horror movies of the year (even though it was doing the festival boogie in 2013).

AVAILABLE ON VOD: August 12, 2014

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