In the horror/comedy game originality is everything, and luckily for Bad Milo!, there’s plenty of genre-mashing fun worth its weight in gold – shit covered gold that is. Usually it’s not good when a movie pulls half of its scenes out of someone’s ass, but in the case of this Ken Marino led creature feature, we’re actually excited any time our monster crawls out of our main character’s poop-shoot. Bad Milo! is a heartwarming story of love, dealing with your demons, murderous vengeance, and grossly inappropriate laughs. Sure, our little friend Milo may be bad, but Jacob Vaughan’s movie is oh-so-good.
Duncan’s (Ken Marino) life is a stressful one. He works a terrible, unfulfilling job, his wife is pushing for a baby, his mother constantly butts into his personal life, his father is nowhere to be found, and he’s just recently discovered there’s a painful polyp in his intestines caused by the high levels of stress he faces. Going to a hypo-therapist (Peter Stormare) on his doctor’s orders, he’s first resistant to the wackjob’s ways, but when people around Duncan start dying and he becomes increasingly alarmed, he’s willing to try anything. What the two uncover is much more horrifying than they can ever imagine though, as Duncan is informed that all his negative energy has manifested itself into an adorable little monster who lives in his butt, only coming out to murder those who stress Duncan the most. Naming his new friend Milo, Duncan attempts to bond with the mischievous little guy, hoping to reign in his mean streak. I mean, he’s just a little ass creature, he doesn’t know any better, right?
With a puppet involved, Bad Milo! was going to make or break itself on the delivery of Milo. Sure, Ken Marino is the star actor here, but Milo steals the show, becoming a character all on his own like Chucky or Gizmo. This little butt demon is rude, crude, and has a taste for blood, but we actually come to adore him. Marino does a bang up job interacting with the marvelous puppet, who thankfully isn’t animated (most of the time?), keeping the old-school feel of 80s style B-Movie cinema. There are genuine moments when you can feel a real connection between Duncan and Milo, and I’m not talking about when Duncan is letting Milo crawl back into his ass either, as there’s a weird sort of affection between the two that’s a tad magical. Yes, Bad Milo! is a touching story about a man and the literal stress monster living in his ass – never thought I’d say that.
Alright, but besides Milo, this is Ken Marino’s show, and he takes us on a wildly comedic ride. For anyone who enjoyed his work on Party Down (which should be every one of you!) and all the other goofy comedies he’s partaken in, his character Duncan stands as one of his funnier performances. While some of the humor may be “low-brow,” as Marino has to repeatedly contort his face in fits of discomfort as a little “thing” uses his B-hole as a doggy door, Marino is in top form. His freaked-out reactions are second to none, and his work with our leading puppet is impeccable, providing an absolute laugh-riot for horror fans.
Don’t worry, Bad Milo‘s supporting cast also turns in a few strong performances as well. Peter Stormare’s uncharacteristic (sarcastic) turn as a psychiatrist-type who believes in hypnotism and ancient voodoos is perfectly scripted, and Stormare’s zany personality fits the scenario as wonderfully as it sounds. Gillian Jacobs (Community) also shows up as Duncan’s wife, who is forced to deal with her husband’s dark secret, and with the help of Mary Kay Place (Duncan’s overbearing mother) and her lover Kumail Nanjiani, Marino has a family dynamic that’s creepily informative and unjustly forward – but mostly hilarious thanks to the riffing between Marino and Nanjiani.
Bad Milo! is a devilishly unique story about dealing with your inner demons – literally. I may be stretching with this statement, but Vaughan’s film (co-written by Benjamin Hayes) feels like a twisted, sick, and psychotic Amblin style creature feature, because we genuinely care about the relationship between Duncan and Milo that plays out amidst the people munching. Don’t be fooled by Milo’s tremendous dark side, because once those big doe-eyes appear and he’s portrayed as the scared little critter he actually is, you’ll absolutely fall in love with the sweetly rambunctious deviant.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be grossly shocked, but most importantly, you’re going to love Bad Milo! for the crazy genre hybrid it is. Horror fans, here is that one, big, “you can’t miss this” independent gem of a genre movie for 2013. Don’t be the lame-o who ignores such a rewarding cinematic watch – about a butt demon.