REVIEW: BAD MILO / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JACOB VAUGHAN / SCREENPLAY: BENJAMIN HAYES, JACOB VAUGHAN / STARRING: KEN MARINO, GILLIAN JACOBS, PATRICK WARBURTON, PETER STORMARE / RELEASE DATE: TBA
Every now and then films come along that defy the established critical technique. These films merely work or not and this well-crafted, creature feature throwback thankfully does. Bad Milo’s concept is one to open your eyes and clench your cheeks at. This film sees stressed accountant Duncan (Marino), struggling with stomach pains, however what is thought to be stress turns out to be a literal pain in the arse, in the shape of stress demon Milo, who has grown and taken refuge in Duncan’s anus and emerges to attack anybody who contributes to his master’s anxiety. Yep, good or bad, this one was always going to be a must-see!
Bad Milo is actually a rather affectionate little film in its own demented way and while it doesn't quite match up to its inspirations, it certainly pays them tribute. Vaughan’s film is full of gross-out humour and dirty gags (from penis biting to rats up the back passage) and while some of this is not always funny, it is undeniably different and perversely rewarding for fans of '80s creature features. Inspired by the likes of Gremlins, Basket Case and Critters, this is a real throwback to the bygone B-movie days of nasty little buggers causing a riot. The decision to minimise the CGI for practical effects and puppetry proves to be one of the film's best decisions and Milo himself deftly balances between being butt ugly (sorry) and unfathomably cute.
The script doesn’t always have the meatiness of the genre’s best efforts and there is no doubting the lack of sophistication here. A little bit of gross-out humour goes a long way (Duncan’s mum and her active sex life grates). But if you're the kind of person who's willing to pay to see an arse demon run amok, you most likely won’t be disappointed, just don’t go expecting the rounded appeal of Joe Dante. Bad Milo has a lot of inexplicable charm to it (much like its bald little demon) and Vaughan’s film is the homage he’d like it to be, even if it is occasionally less funny than it thinks it is. The film is at times a wonderfully self-aware offering that sets the tone right out of the gate with a soundtrack from Ted Masur, which is reminiscent (in its purposefully grandiose nature) of Michael Wandmacher’s score for (the superior) Piranha 3D.
The cast are very involved in this barmy feature too, with Ken Marino excelling in the lead role as Duncan, offering an appealing lead character for the film to hang from. Patrick Warburton is also fun as the relentlessly ‘douchey’ boss Phil and Peter Stormare is clearly having a right laugh as mad psychiatrist Highsmith. Even if the plot goes a bit OTT come the central twist and Gillian Jacobs, as Duncan’s wife Sarah, is only really here to serve this preposterous finale, Bad Milo is still an enjoyably raucous offering. There is a lot to admire about Bad Milo, which is not rear of the year material but nor is it a bum note (we’ll stop now). It could have done more with its wicked premise but what you see is indeed what you get, and after viewing this you’ll never feel quite as relaxed over stomach cramps. And all you accountants out there take heed and just buy a stress ball!
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10