Cast: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Patrick Warburton, Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Mary Kay Place, Kumail Nanjiani, Steve Zissis.
Running Time: 85 minutes.
Synopsis: Duncan has his bowel pains investigated, only to discover an evil demon lives in his anus. The demon, whom Duncan names Milo, comes out and attacks when Duncan feels anger and hatred in stressful situations. Duncan must attempt to bond with the creature before it hurts those closest to him.
Everybody poops. It’s a fact of life. So we can all relate to tummy troubles in some way, shape or form. However, it’s unlikely when going for a number two we end up giving birth to a small demon. That’s exactly the predicament Duncan finds himself in, and it’s also the main joke that BAD MILO has to present. It may not be particularly feature worthy, but Vaughan is obviously such a lover of 80s creature features such as GREMLINS, GHOULIES, and CRITTERS, that we’re left with an enjoyable farce which goes for laughs more than scares.
The film actually has no horror to it whatsoever, which is a slight disappointment. A film doesn’t need to take itself seriously to unsettle an audience, but BAD MILO takes its bizarre premise and its comedic actors and mostly plays it straight. The birth scenes are obviously played for laughs, and an early dinner sequence presents some clear adlibbing and unrehearsed lines, but with the likes of Marino, Jacobs, and Warburton on screen, letting them cut loose could have made this even funnier. The only real comedy performance is that of Stormare as a hypnotherapist who seems to take far too much enjoyment in the events.
There are elements of interesting themes scattered throughout the film, but when push comes to harder pushing, it’s still a tale of a butt demon. Duncan threats about being a father and the responsibility he must take on, while also lacking the killer instinct to be a success at his job. It’s a nice touch in this never ending 21st century lifestyle that Milo’s appearances are triggered by stress. On some level it’s a warning to put our health before our success, and how ignoring such things will come back and bite us (or our hypnotherapist) on the arse.
Milo is a wonderful practical puppet effect, which further reminds of those 80s classics. Milo is both cute and threatening, like a Mogwai and Gremlin rolled into one. His big black eyes make him irresistible, until he bears those sharp fangs. Although he looks the part, his movements are rather restrained and this makes him seem like less of a threat. The majority of kill scenes are done offscreen, and those who are targeted are such jerks you can see their deaths coming from a mile away. This may be about a creature coming out of your behind, but other than that it’s fairly predictable stuff.
With tame kills and reigned in performances, BAD MILO forgoes brilliance and madness for reasons unknown. If you’re premise deals with ass demons, then I say just go all out. Things get a bit more spicier with the introduction of Stephen Root’s absent father but the only scenes that provided any discomfort were those in which things were going into or out of a bum, although we’re never revealed the true mechanics or physics of such things.
BAD MILO is the cheeky and mischievous comedy that it wants to be. It has nice ideas at its core and has a cast committed to creating a world in which Milo can live, thrive, and be accepted as a plot device. Perhaps the terms horror and comedy aren’t fitting for BAD MILO, as the best moments are those in which Duncan must bond with Milo and try and connect with him. These are the weird and wonderful parts that the film needed more of. A fun 85 minutes and a nice throwback to days gone by.