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'Septic Man' is as drearily gross as it sounds

'Septic Man' is a horror film that's more disgusting than frightening

"Septic Man" can be summed up in pretty much two words: Don't ask. Directed by Jesse Thomas Cook from a script by Tony Burgess, it's a grotesque, deadly dull piece of cinematic upchuck, a horror film minus tension or chills. Think "The Toxic Avenger," minus the avenger.

When resourceful sewage worker Jack (Jason David Brown) is hired by the mysterious, stringy-haired Prosser (Julian Richings) to get to the bottom — literally — of a Canadian town's water contamination crisis, the intrepid Jack jumps at the potentially huge payday, despite the protestations of his wary, pregnant wife (Molly Dunsworth).

But in short order, Jack becomes trapped in the bowels of a local sewage treatment plant. Unfortunately for him — and the audience — that's where he stays for most of the film, surrounded by noxious muck and mire. He hallucinates, ingests God-knows-what to survive and, thanks to the infected water, morphs into an angry, carbuncle-faced monster. Good times.

Meanwhile, Jack's would-be escape is thwarted by a pair of unhinged brothers — the slow-witted Giant (Robert Maillet) and the vicious, razor-toothed Lord Auch (Tim Burd) — who are living somewhere aboveground. As movie villains go, they're more hokey than frightening.

What else? Oh, yes, vomit and bodily waste abound, along with floating human limbs and innards, dead babies, bloody chain saw action and a lovely impaling. If there is, in fact, some ecological message to be gleaned here, it's lost amid the film's endless yuckiness.


"Septic Man."

MPAA rating: R for disturbing images, violence and language.

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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