Directed by Jesse Thomas Cook and starring Jason Brown, Septic Man is an unexpected, heartfelt and extremely gross film. One that will stick in the mind long after it has ended thanks to an incredibly performance by Brown.
He plays Jack, just your average sewage worker who has been asked to investigate a water contamination in his hometown. This contamination is bad, enough so that it has forced the entire town to be evacuated including his pregnant wife Shelley (Molly Dunsworth). Jack is offered a once in a lifetime deal to get to the source of the problem and against his wife’s wishes stays in the town.
Unfortunately, while investigating the local sewage plant he ends up getting trapped in a septic tank by two men. Lord Auch (Tim Burd) and his brother Giant (Robert Maillet), a duo who might have a few screws loose.
No matter how much Jack pleads with them they refuse to let him out. Slowly, over an indeterminable amount of time, the toxic sewage begins to transform Jack into a hideous creature.
There is no lightness here and there is no comedy, Septic Man is a harrowing experience as we watch Jack slowly lose all hope until his eventual rebirth as something else. His bodies deterioration is on show and the effects/make-up are pretty gruesome.
That’s not where the horror comes from though. That comes from Jack’s desperation and the suffering he contends with being trapped in the septic tank. Madness takes his mind slowly and the realisation that he is not going to get out of this sinks in. Jason Brown is incredible here delivering a performance that is believable and touching. He’s a likeable individual and through clever shots we share the horrid conditions that he is stuck in. He’s easy to relate too and you can’t help but wonder just what you would do in this situation.
Die, probably die.
The film does have faults though. The characters of Auch and Giant are little hokey and raise a few too many questions that never get answered. Also, the emotional pull that we should feel at the end isn’t really there as Jack and Shelley’s relationship didn’t get much focus.
Still, Septic Man is one of those pleasant surprises where you go in expecting one thing but get another and is vastly better for it.
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The Final Score - 8/10