‘Bad Milo!’ is a horror comedy about a man who learns his persistent stomach problems are being caused by a pintsized monster living in his intestines.
Stress manifests within the body in various ways for different people. Some people eat, others lose their appetite and a few suffer from stomach issues. The latter can be the most uncomfortable, exasperating the situation by causing further anxiety and distress. In Bad Milo!, the protagonist is under constant pressure that doctors believe is the source of his digestive problems, but it turns out to be something no one could have suspected, predicted or diagnosed.
On the outside, Duncan’s (Ken Marino) life appears idyllic; he’s happily married, lives in a nice house and is an efficient accountant. But everything is not as it seems. His wife, Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), wants them to start a family, but a series of doctor’s appointments about his digestive difficulties put those plans on hold until his health improves. Moreover, Duncan’s boss (Patrick Warburton) has awarded him a new office equipped with a lavatory, “cubie” and new responsibilities. In the midst of all these pressures, his mother (Mary Kay Place) hosts the worst dinner party possible. Finally reaching his breaking point, Duncan’s body gives birth to a coping mechanism with fatal consequences.
Men have been known to brag about the size of their excrement, to which women generally respond, “I don’t care how big it is, it doesn’t compare to giving birth.” Duncan’s experience, however, is as close as a man can get to the feeling of natural childbirth. When his frustration reaches its peak, a baby-like monster with a relatively large head is delivered from Duncan’s intestines to vent his annoyance. The physical incarnation of his stress – named Milo – is cute in a Gremlin sort of way, making sweet-sounding cooing noises when confronted by its daddy. Conversely, it uses its pointed teeth and sharp claws to tear apart Duncan’s antagonists.
This film is an endearing throwback to ‘80s creature movies such as Critters, Ghoulies and the aforementioned Gremlins. Director Jacob Vaughan opted to create the little monster using old school practical effects and puppets, contributing to its campy feel. The goofy and sometimes gross story is fun to its core.
Marino plays the role pretty straight, which is perfect. Treating the existence of Milo as a serious problem adds to the knowing amusement that makes this film so entertaining. Similarly Peter Stormare portrays Duncan’s therapist who attempts to sincerely counsel him on how to manage Milo, though his advice doesn’t always appear to be the most sound. The inclusion of Stephen Root as Duncan’s estranged father is the cherry on top of this whacky tale.
The official release date was too early for the movie to be programmed in this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival, so organizers included it in their Spotlight Screening series that acts as a preview for the fall genre fest.
Director:Jacob VaughanStarring:Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs and Patrick Warburton