Bad Milo doesn’t pretend to be an Oscar worthy movie. In fact, it knows that the premise is more than just a little ridiculous. However, rather than taking the day off and filming the low brow comedy that Bad Milo had the potential to be, writer Benjamin Hayes and writer/director Jacob Vaughan have given audiences something truly unique that actually has quite a bit of heart.
Bad Milo centers on Ken (played by Ken Marino), an accountant who has a few issues to deal with, not the least of which involve his less-than-loving father. He works for a company that doesn’t appreciate his worth and continually treats him with disrespect. At one point, Ken’s boss, played perfectly by the always wonderful Patrick Warburton, decides that the best place for Ken to work would be with a cubie mate in a restroom in the bowels of the building. Ken has been experiencing gastrointestinal issues for quite a while and, given his high stress level, he believes the issues to be anxiety related. Things have gotten so bad that his wife keeps earplugs at the ready so that she can sleep through Ken’s noisy lengthy bathroom trips when it comes time for bed. When his cubie mate accidentally deletes a presentation that Ken has spent plenty of time and energy preparing, the audience learns that there is more going on than just a bit of gas.
The plot itself seems silly at first glance but, as horror fans know, there are always gems to be found amid the piles of garbage that Hollywood studios tend to throw at them. This is one of those gems.
From the opening title sequence that leads viewers through a colonoscopy, this movie is well aware of itself and doesn’t pretend to be something that it isn’t. That being said, considering how…dirty the concept is, the bathroom humor and gross-out aspects are played down more than one would expect. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few bathroom gross-outs (there are) but for a movie that is about a demon living in someone’s colon, it avoids being a two hour long bathroom joke the best that it can.
Marino plays the hero of the story perfectly, reflecting his character’s lot in life expertly. The audience shares in his emotions which Marino can actually pull off with just a change in his facial expressions and body language and it is easy to sympathize with the character. His wife (Gillian Jacobs) is a sweetheart who obviously loves her husband very much, even though she does tend to share a bit too much with her mother in law. Speaking of Ken’s mom, Mary Kay Place plays the worried mother in a way that makes viewers either chuckle or cringe with memories of their own mothers. She is most well used when she is interacting with Ken’s new stepfather, played by the hilarious Kumail Nanjiani, and the two of them bring in a couple of great laughs.
The heart of this movie is the relationship between Milo and Ken. With the help of his therapist, Ken is able to draw Milo out and realizes that Milo is simply a part of him; that Milo is nothing more than his subconscious doing his bidding. While the audience is treated to just what a bad ass demon Milo can be, in every sense of the expression, they are also treated to the softer side of the monster, which is rather reminiscent of Gizmo of Gremlins fame.
Bad Milo is one of those horror movies that comes along every once in awhile that delivers on everything it promises. There are a few moments that definitely cause the audience to jump but still provides plenty of silly situations that inspire genuine laughs. There are a few moments where the movie drags but, for the most part, it moves fairly smoothly and quickly through to its conclusion. Like Slither, Critters, and even Gremlins, this movie gives us a great, fun creature, big laughs, and a great time while still providing enough tension and blood to be considered a “horror” film.
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