Crude and gory gross-out B-movies have often found themselves as bottom-feeding entertainment that either go down in flames or end up becoming cult hits. Septic Man, a revolting and filthy-looking horror movie from Raven Banner Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment is the latest to try and crack that mould on DVD (set for release on August 19, 2014), but which way does it land?
Septic Man stars Jason David Brown (Exit Humanity, Antisocial) as a sewage worker named Jack, who is recruited to uncover the source of a local town water contamination crisis and if he can, fix the problem. As Jack investigates the origins of the problem underneath a plant facility, he becomes trapped in a chamber and the toxicity of the room begins to transform and deform him the longer he stays.
Added to the mix is first; the mystery of dumped dead bodies in his location and the two unstable individuals roaming the plant above him who might have something to do with it, and second; a frightfully worried pregnant wife at home who is supposed to evacuate the town and may end up being Jack's only lifeline.
Septic Man as a movie that is almost an homage to Troma's classic cult The Toxic Avenger, but it tries to take itself much more seriously. The opening scene of a woman vomiting and expelling blood in a grimy, filth-stained bathroom pretty much says what you are in for a couple of minutes in. While the movie has a very gloomy dark and dirty tone, it's mind-numbingly boring and dull for its 86 minute runtime.
The story is pretty simplistic and yet in some areas doesn't make a lot of sense. Septic Man is primarily a survival story, but it comes off as some sort of rise of a victimized hero trying to get revenge on those responsible for his situation. As soon as he strangles a crazed man terrorizing him with human entrails, the movie certainly becomes something else entirely.
Septic Man comes to DVD with a half-decent, if overly dark standard video image with some high black levels. In some ways this helps with the dirty and dark approach of the film, but in the bright daytime scenes there is a lot of grain as well to deal with. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is so-so, in the sense that you can hear the difference in dialogue between clear recorded tracks and words that were recorded live on the scene that are not as audible. The DVD comes with no special features.
It's tough to recommend Septic Man is a movie worth your time, even in the so-bad-its-good arena, because over-all it is not good, but the effort of small-time horror movie making is admirable. Perhaps the only areas the movie excels at is the foul set design that certainly feels repulsive, plus the make-up effects on Jack's face as he mutates is impressive. Beyond that the acting is horrid, the story is nonsense and the movie is exactly what it says in its title...crud.