Review: Bad Milo (2013)

Embrace your inner demon.

Embrace your inner demon.

BAD MILO! (2013)
Rated R / Color / 85 minutes
Directed by Jacob Vaughan
Also Known As: Milo
Purchase this film: Amazon.com (DVD) | Amazon.com (Blu-ray)

Everyone deals with stress: It’s part of being human. Whether it’s from work, raising kids, or just trying to make it through the daily rat races, we are all constantly under stress. To combat it, some people exercise, or conversely, stuff their faces with junk food.

Others may seek solace in cigarettes, alcohol, and/or violent video games, while some may go to an abandoned warehouse and “punch dance” out their frustrations.

Then there’s those of us who are introverts: We keep everything bottled up inside of us. I’ve been told that this is not a very healthy way to deal with stress or anger, and thanks to BAD MILO, I now know why.

The film centers on Duncan (Ken Marino), a mild-mannered fellow who suffers from a strange malady. His suppressed anger and stress, results in lengthy and scream-inducing visits to the bathroom. Duncan’s gut-wrenching pains and violent poop marathons prove to be a mystery to his doctor. (Played by Toby Huss, a.k.a. Artie, the Strongest Man in the World from Nickelodeon’s THE ADVENTURES OF PETE & PETE!)

With no concrete answers, Duncan is referred to a psychiatrist in order to better deal with the stresses of an awful job, his mother’s kinky sexual relationship with a much younger guy, and a nagging wife named Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), that refuses to drop the subject of having children.

Though he’s not big on the idea, Duncan eventually breaks down and visits Dr. Highsmith (Peter Stormare!), after one particularly awful day causes him to unknowingly “give birth” to a miniature monstrosity that murders one of his coworkers. Duncan is put under hypnosis by Doc Highsmith and soon comes face to face with his demonic stowaway.

The strange little beastie (which looks like the bastard child of Baby Sinclair from DINOSAURS, and those killer mushroom critters from MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD) runs off into the night to attack another person on Duncan’s “sh*tlist.” Meanwhile, Duncan tries to cope with what he’s just experienced.

bad milo relatives

Baby Sinclair + Killer Space Shroom = MILO.

Dr. Highsmith assures Duncan that the creature is “part of him,” and if it is killed, he would be rendered catatonic for the rest of his life. (Exposition courtesy of a convenient book in the doctor’s office that illustrates a dragon coming out of an Aztec’s butthole.) At the behest of Highsmith, Duncan attempt to bond with the creature (which he names Milo), and learn to control his emotions.

Since the creature is a physical manifestation of all the negative emotions that Duncan is bottling up inside, it stands to reason that if he takes control of his emotional well-being (and his life), Milo won’t keep popping out and killing people.

However this does not come naturally to Duncan, and after willingly setting Milo upon his thieving a-hole boss, Phil (Patrick Warburton!), he runs off and hides out in a hotel. He does this mainly to protect Sarah, but to also to try and build some sort of connection with his unwelcome “friend.”

Things eventually come to a head when Duncan attempts to confront his dad, Roger (Stephen Root), who abandoned their family years before. Both guys get pretty worked up, which results in a poop-monster puppet battle royale, between Milo and Ralph, Roger’s own little bowel demon. (Apparently killer anus monsters run in the family.)

As the film heads towards its climax, Duncan discovers that his wife is pregnant, which does not please Milo at all. The demonic minion makes a beeline for Sarah, so it’s up to Duncan to rescue her and his unborn child. Will he make it in time to save the day? Will he make the ultimate sacrifice and kill Milo in order to save those he loves, only to become a vegetable?

BAD MILO struck a chord with me as I myself am an introvert (though I manage to expurgate my pent up frustrations without splorting a demon out of my arse), plus Duncan is an easy character to relate to.

His wife is a nag (give me a baby!), his boss is a jerk (fire a bunch of your coworkers while I bankrupt our company!), and his mother treats him like he’s a child. (I want a grandchild, so I got you a fertility doctor!) It’s all typical stuff we’re familiar with, but cranked up to an almost ridiculous degree.

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Surprisingly, this is not a scene from a Larry Cohen horror film.

And all of these daily pressures result in the creation of Milo, a metaphoric physical manifestation of Duncan’s pent up anger, stress, and feelings of inadequacy. Milo is Duncan’s dark side, and violently lashes out on his behalf. The only way to keep the little butt-monster at bay is if Duncan starts confronting all his problems like an adult.

At first he can’t do that, but once his wife and unborn child are threatened by Milo, Duncan finally gets his sh*t together. And speaking of Milo, he is just too darned cute; you can’t help but love that disgusting little guy, even when he’s chewing on someone’s face!

He poses a definite threat, but you can’t help but chuckle when Duncan coaxes (or has someone gently shove) Milo back up into his rectum. (For those of you cringing, fear not, for this act is implied; you never actually see the two-foot tall critter make his way back in. Haha!)

I must also note that Milo is brought to life with a heavy dose of old school special effects techniques. I’m not one-hundred percent sure, but I think the bulk (if not all) of the creature f/x in this film was done with animatronics and puppeteering. If there was any CGI at all, it was very light and only used for some touch-ups. It’s so rare to see a film these days that doesn’t rely heavily on CGI, so this was most assuredly a breath of fresh air!

BAD MILO starts off a bit slowly at first, but really finds its stride as it speeds towards its crazy conclusion. Its got a fun, oddball premise, a fantastic cast (you can’t go wrong with Peter Stormare!), and even manages to sneak in a few touching moments amongst the fecal jokes and gore. At only eighty-five minutes, the film certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome, and it proves to be an impressive first(?) feature-length film from Writer/Director Jacob Vaughn.

I enjoyed this bizarre toilet humor-fueled horror-comedy, and hereby declare it worthy of: