From director Jesse T. Cook (Monster Brawl) and writer Tony Burgess (Ponypool) comes the utterly disgusting body horror film Septic Man. When a water contamination problem results in many deaths around the town of Collingwood, the mayor (Stephen McHattie) declares a state of emergency and evacuates the town. Meanwhile, a local septic worker named Jack (Jason Brown) is approached by a mysterious government agent named Phil Prosser (Julian Richings), who offers Jack a total of $200,000 to stay behind and find the source of the contamination. Despite the objections of his pregnant wife Shelley (Molly Dunsworth), Jack takes the job and traces the contamination to a large septic tank. Even though he manages to clear the contamination, Jack finds himself trapped within the tank. Over the course of the next few days, Jack undergoes a horrifying transformation within in tank, while also encountering a sharp-toothed subterranean serial killer named Lord Auch (Tim Burd) and his giant of a brother (Robert Maillet).
Septic Man sets the tone from its very first scene, which is so utterly disgusting, that it should not be viewed on a full stomache. There is definitely a lot of bodily fluids at play in the film, which is sure to make many viewers feel nauseous. However, I still have to say that I thought that Septic Man was a quite impressive body horror film, which reminded me a bit of early David Cronenberg films, particularly The Fly. While there is no real reason given for why Jack begins turning into a hideous monster (which I should note looks quite a bit like The Toxic Avenger), the transformation was quite well done. Jack also frequently hallucinates while in the septic tank, which does make you question the reality of certain scenes.
Even though he is only present in a few scenes, I quite liked Julian Richings’ performance as the soft spoken G-Man Phil Prosser. Who exactly he works for is kept a secret for the most part, other than the fact that it is a consortium that runs Collingwood from the shadows. There is a slight menace in the way Richings delivers his lines and he was definitely a fun character to watch. It was also a joy seeing Stephen McHattie as the town’s mayor, even though the role is just an extended cameo. In additon, while he only seems to be in the film as filler, the character of Lord Auch is a quite terrifying antagonist. There is also a nice rapport between Jack and the Giant, who is a reluctant accomplice to his brother’s crimes.
Overall, while Septic Man was undoubtedly a very disgusting and nauseating film to watch, it was also an impressive and well-done piece of body horror.8 | LIKED IT