Release Date: October 4, 2013 (Limited)
Currently playing on VOD platforms
Director: Jacob Vaughan
MPAA Rating: R
Film Pulse Score: 6/10
At first glance, Jacob Vaughn’s Bad Milo! Doesn’t sound like a premise that would strike comedy gold for most people, except maybe within the 13-year-old boy demographic. A film about a ferocious demon housed in a man’s ass doesn’t scream intelligent humor. Thankfully, Bad Milo! provides a surprising blend of gross-out comedic horror with some smart dialogue and an atypically heartwarming story.
The first act is its strongest, showcasing the humdrum existence of Duncan, the film’s protagonist, played by Ken Marino. Marino brings his trademark delivery to the character and each increasingly stressful encounter he endures is both hilarious and relatable.
Duncan’s stress hits a tipping point, with pressure from his boss (Patrick Warburton), pressure from his wife (Gillian Jacobs), and nagging from his mother and her extremely young new boyfriend (Mary Kay Place and Kumail Nanjiani), which begins to cause him extreme intestinal distress. This distress turns out to be a little demon named Milo that forms inside his colon.
When his stress levels overcome him, the demon is birthed and brutally slaughters whomever it sees. Although this concept in and of itself is gross, the creature effects on Milo make him out to be a somewhat cute, albeit still disgusting, little monster.
Marino’s character enlists the help of a new age therapist, played by Peter Stormare, in order to get things under control. As with most of Stormare’s roles, he’s insane in the best possible way and eats up every scene he’s in.
While the symbolism of Milo and what he represents is on the nose, it’s the execution of his actions and the relationship between Marino and the others characters that make this a fun watch. There’s plenty of gory violence, including Milo biting off a man’s penis and eating it, but for every scene of blood and poop, there’s a scene involving real character moments with dialogue-based humor. It’s these scenes that make Bad Milo! something worth watching, the over the top gore is just a bonus.
Unfortunately, as with many horror comedies of this ilk, the comedic elements become fewer as the film progresses. The jokes shift from throwaway lines and situational elements to crass, low-brow gross-out gags. The story obviously calls for it, so it’s hard to knock the transition, but I felt myself missing the awkward conversations from the beginning of the film.
Sure, Bad Milo! is filled with all the tasteless gore you might see in a Larry Cohen film, but there’s much more bubbling under the surface. It’s a story about companionship and facing ones own demons, as well as a cautionary tale to always be actively managing your stress levels.