Written and Directed by: Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson
Starring: Drew Bolduc, Colleen Walsh, and Cody Crenshaw
Reviewed by: Brett G.
ďMen do two things exceedingly well: busting a nut and killing people.Ē
As crude and as blunt as that statement is, one can hardly argue its point. It seems as though the male species was made for those two express purposes. Okay, thatís a bit of an overstatement, but what if it wasnít just an absurd summation of men? Thatís what directors Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson ponder in The Taint, which presents a world where men have become monsters that literally live to simply kill and fornicate, often at the same time.
They got this way because a couple of lab scientists have been in pursuit of the ultimate question: how can they get pretty women to administer oral sex to them? Well, instead of concocting some weird science and just creating their own virtual woman, they decide to make a serum (subtly marketed as Cockzantium) that will enhance oneís manhood. Of course, everything goes wrong, and it ends up turning men into sex-crazed maniacs (seemingly full of just as much semen as testosterone) who now show their distaste for women by bashing their faces in. After an entire townís water supply is tainted with the serum, there are only a handful of survivors left to make sense of it all.
I guess thatís where youíre left as a viewer too, as The Taint sort of bashes you over the head early and often, leaving you somewhat disoriented all the way through. It isnít really a film; instead, it feels like the equivalent of taking an acid trip down the streets of Tromaville with Oliver Stone as your tour guide. Itís a loosely-plotted narrative that sprawls all over the place and constantly bounces back and forth between different time periods to give you an idea of where our survivors came from. Dispersed throughout are bizarre interludes, such as an animated sequence and an over-the-top in-film advertisement for Cockzantium. Thereís even a training montage that feels ripped right out the 80s, as itís full of sweatbands and a rock tune that could have accompanied Sly Stallone running up a mountain in Rocky IV. Somehow, it all comes together to paint an absurdist portrait of the male ego thatís laced with black humor and lunacy throughout.
Before you ever get to the opening credits, youíll get everything from a pair of naked breasts to a severed penis, and it only gets crazier from there. Every discharge imaginable spills out onto the screen in disgusting fashion, as the madmen are reduced to essential bodily functions in rollicking fashion. Their targets are the opposite, fairer sex, which are subjected to a level of misogyny that would even make Andrew Dice Clay blush. Seriously, the Diceman might joke about buying his girlfriend a broom for Christmas, but the guys in The Taint would use the broom to cave in the skulls of the nearest broad. That would actually be tame by this filmís standards, as it features everything from a coat-hanger abortion to death via penis impalement. Rest assured, youíll feel compelled to vomit between the laughs.
And there are surprisingly some genuine laughs to be found; sure, itís about as unsubtle as it can get, but the film functions well enough as a Juvenalian satire of the male propensity to screw everything on two legs and destroy things. The misogyny here is actually used here to promote a fairly feminist doctrine, and the filmís climax doesnít so much present an emasculation; thatís too quaint of a term to describe an explosive sequence that sprays splattered male sex organs all over the frame (this is one of the few times in the film they arenít the ones doing the spraying). Sure, itís gross, but thereís something to be found in the main characterís journey to resist the misogyny around him, as even his fellow surviving males intend to gang rape his female companion, just because they can. Thereís some mixed signals, though, as even our ďheroĒ can hardly be considered a nice guy.
Iíd like to say the film offers a fascinating portrait of male identity in this respect, but not quite; really, the sprawling narrative means this narrative thread gets lost in all the madness, so the lasting impression is all the splatter. But hey, at least it tries--and most guys would tell you that just getting off your ass and trying is enough. Itís a bit of a rough effort--the acting is especially and expectedly not great--but Bolduc and Nelson make up for it with a fairly lavish production thatís about as well done as something like this can be. Visually striking and directed with panache, The Taint is a surreal voyage that thankfully doesnít take long to get through; it would seem as though our directors know not to let a joke linger too long after its punch line. At the moment, the film is still seeking wide distribution, though the film is available on its official site. It was recently announced that the film will premiere at the Tromadance Film Festival next month, which is appropriate; as I was watching it, all I could think was "someone needs to give Lloyd Kaufman a call--this is right up his alley." Buy it!
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