August 23rd, 2013
Release length: 1:25:00
Bad Milo!‘s story is a simple enough tale that focuses on Duncan (Ken Marino) and his bowel issues. With his wife Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) by his side, he learns of a polyp that may be the cause of the problem. On top of that, his mother Beatrice (Mary Kay Place) has been pushing Duncan to conceive a child, blaming it largely on impotence and erectile dysfunction. Due to problems at work, Duncan wants to hold off, and it ends up just added stress that he continues to hold inside. After being moved to another department at work, having his new office literally placed in a bathroom along side co-worker Joey (Jonathan Daniel Brown) who deletes an important file from his computer, his inner stress is finally released rectally in the form of something mistaken as a raccoon attacking people.
After seeking out the help of Dr. Yeager (Toby Huss) and learning the polyp is actually an ancient demon that is living inside his bowels, he learns he needs to confront his father and solve the issues the two have, all the while keeping himself stress free. The doctor also advises him to bond with this demon, which he names Milo, since if it dies, so does Duncan, not to mention continue to escape and kill those that invoke the most frustration in his life. But, it isn’t until his confrontation with his carefree hippy father who walked out on him that everything spirals out of his control, including Milo itself.
The story seems a bit outrageous, and there’s plenty of scenes involving Duncan moving his bowels on the toilet that hints at more of a gross-out comedy approach. Other than grumbling in his stomach signifying the disgust of Milo, this opening section is the only time these jokes really appear. There is still a good amount of time spent in bathrooms though, such as during the first confrontation between Duncan and his father where Milo sends him to an outhouse, falling through the opening, then shaking off like a dog before trying to get out to kill the source of irritation. Duncan trying to find something to feed it back at the office is as hysterical as it is handled rather clean. The co-worker walking in could have been handled a lot more sexually, but instead goes more in a dumbfounded onlooker approach that is amplified by the effects of Milo chowing down. While not all the jokes work out as well as these do, the execution to most of them is well timed, and the use of puppetry and practical effects really does make them more believable in a Gremlins sort of way.
Thankfully, Milo isn’t just computer generated effects, instead looking like something that stepped right out of Ghoulies. The only time computers seem to be used are when Milo jumps long distances, and its forgiveable given the Puppet Master style movements it makes, even mid-air, and restricted to the last twenty minutes of the film. For a demonic polyp, he is actually incredibly cute, and the use of large black eyes makes him all the more irresistible. As the story continues, it becomes more like a child, especially in the hotel when it and Duncan lay next to each other to watch television together. While that aspect is continually nurtured, Milo itself often acts like a dog with its movements and growls. There aren’t many other effects other than the door explosion near the end, which looks incredible, leading to a tense battle, and incredibly heartwarming conclusion that sets the film up for a sequel.
Aside the use of practical effects, the film even looks like it was produced and edited back in the eighties. There’s a bit of a raw touch to the final production, giving it more of a film look than a modern digital production. Even some of the blood effects from various kills looks realistic, though some of the bodies are never shown outside of a yellowish POV shot of Milo stalking or leaping. The only time you really get to see the end result of an attack is when an elevator door opens, revealing the latest kill to Duncan, a scene that shows a surprisingly dark range to Ken Marino that is barely used, causing his emotional break to be far more believable, as well as justifiable.
In fact, everyone does a great job as far as the acting goes, though some take a bit longer than others to come around and grow on you. Each actor clearly does their best to make their roles stand out, and many play off one another to perfectly, but only after the first twenty minutes that finds this aspect a bit forced. Toby Huss is one of the few that take some time to grow, starting off a bit rocky at first. The character itself is portrayed more as a quack, but as Toby gets more into it, as well as the development the story causes, he becomes a crucial emotional crutch and voice of loic for Duncan than you would have initially believed. Diane (Dee Baldus) starts off as arrogant and only concerned with herself, but by the end becomes a little more loveable thanks to the conversation that occur during the party towards the end, and even Gillian Jacobs maintains the understanding but frustrated wife perfectly, making you understand she’s suffering too and trying to be there for Duncan instead of always lashing out.
Bad Milo is a major surprise that is not only humorous and sadistic, but also ends up being a feel good movie experience. Between acting that needs time to grow and a rough start, this takes a little while to get the viewer invested. In the end, its well worth it. After the twenty minute mark, there isn’t a dull moment to be found in the well written story, moving at a steady pace that fleshes out the mental break of a man who only wants to keeps the people he knows or loves safe from a cute demon that crawls out his anus. It takes the concept of facing your inner demons to a far more physical, and truly psychotic level that will have you laughing with glee and cheering on the inanimate object you will immediately fall in love with at first glance. Bad Milo! stands as one of the best films to come out of 2013, touching more audiences than a Troma film of this same sadistic level could possibly hope for. If you’re bored of the major motion blockbusters this year, then make Bad Milo! your next guilty pleasure.
|Overall Score: 9/10