MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Ken Marino as DUNCAN
Gillian Jacobs as SARAH
Stephen Root as ROGER
Peter Stormare as HIGHSMITH
Mary Kay Place as BEATRICE
Patrick Warburton as PHIL
Directed by: Jacob Vaughan
BY KEVIN CARR
“Bad Milo!” was one of those movies that could go either way for me. On one hand, it looked like an intriguing tongue-in-cheek take on horror movies laced with extremely inappropriate humor. On the other hand, it looked like it could turn into a ridiculous farce of a film.
After watching it, I’m glad to say that it was the former. In fact, it’s better than just good. It’s a damn funny film with some additional keen insights into greater issues without being preachy or pushy.
“Bad Milo!” tells the story of Duncan (Ken Marino), a stressed-out professional who is suffering from severe intestinal distress. His wife Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) supports him as best as she can, but the mounting pressures of his work life and the multiple stresses of his own extended family get the best of him. One day, Duncan discovers that his internal stress manifests itself as a malevolent demon that can crawl out of his innards at night an seek revenge on the problems in his life.
Ludicrous, I know. But the reason this works is because, while it’s a black comedy, the humor is derived from situational issues rather than becoming a joke on itself.
The movie also doesn’t try to win over anyone who is going to hate it in the first place. Let’s face it, if you say, “Intestinal shit-demon” to some people, they’re going to turn their nose up at the film. Those viewers aren’t just lost. You never had them.
Instead, “Bad Milo!” focuses on the people who would give the movie a chance. And while it has a nasty premise, the film doesn’t overdo it. In fact, most of the funniest scenes come not from bathroom humor, but rather from uncomfortable interpersonal communication (often sexual) among the characters. Even the scenes that are obviously mugging at the camera for the sake of the joke fit in rather nicely and don’t seem wildly out of place.
Ultimately, the bathroom is treated as a thing of horror, which is an interesting choice for a film like this. The film ends up being more effective in this manner than the Stephen King adaptation “Dreamcatcher” was with its own intestinal demons.
In a way, you can choose how you want to view “Bad Milo!” It works as a horror film because there are some pretty horrific things that happen in it. You can also view it as a (very) dark comedy because there are some real laugh-out-loud moments. I prefer to look at it as a little of both.
The Blu-ray comes with some nice special features, including deleted scenes and an audio commentary with Marino, Jacobs, director Jacob Vaughan and writer Benjamin Hayes. Additional features include extended outtakes (which play like a line-o-rama), a full extended dinner scene, a featurette on the veterinarian, an interview with Marino, plus the featurettes “Being Milo: The Puppeteers,” “Bad Milo: Raw Take” and “AXS TV: A Look at Bad Milo!”