Septic Man (2013) – By Kirsten Walsh

“A sewage worker gets trapped inside a septic tank during a water contamination crisis and undergoes a hideous transformation. To escape, he must team up with a docile Giant and confront the murdering madman known as Lord Auch.”

With some films, you can tell how the film is going to be within the first five minutes. The opening of “Septic Man” is one of the most disgusting, raunchy, and disturbing film openings I have ever seen. In some circles, its known as a “double dragon”, where someone has excrement…..yeah, you get it. The opening has a girl, who would be pretty if she weren’t covered in bile, excrement, and who knows what else, as she is dying from the “infection”. The amount of effort that went into that scene alone, for the texture of the room- and by jove, there is a lot of texture- for the makeup on the actress, and for the effects- that amount of effort made me extremely interested in seeing how the rest of the film could top that.

Of course, a film featuring Stephen McHattie (“Pontypool”) is worth watching anyways, and the rest of the cast pulls their weight. The lead, “Jack”, played by Jason David Brown (“Antisocial”, “Exit Humanity”), carries much of the film alone, trapped inside of the septic tank. While much of the initial sequence of him being trapped could have been done away with and the film wouldn’t have changed, his character transformation from “doing it for the money” to “survival” is interesting to watch. A supporting cast of Molly Dunsworth, Julian Richings (“Supernatural”, “The Last Halloween”), and Robert Maillet really add levity to the film and add to the story in the best ways.

The effects are mostly practical…..from the constant vomiting to the actual transformation of “Jack” into “Septic Man”. The Gore Brothers did an excellent job with the overall effects, and the production design is perfect for the film. It has been said that the film had a limited budget (the actual figures have not been released), but director Jesse Thomas Cook and his team truly made the best out of what they could with what they have, and the film doesn’t suffer from the limits that were given at all. One giveaway that the film is definitely an indie is the fact it primarily takes place in the dark- with “Jack” trapped in the nethers of the septic system, allowing for cheating of various things and hiding mistakes in production design and makeup. However, it works with the film, and sets a great claustrophobic tone for the storyline. The outside locations are gorgeous and a perfect separation from the underbelly, making it obvious why Canada is an ideal place to shoot for indie filmmakers right now.

The music is fitting and excellent throughout the film, adding an ambiance to the darker moments in the film. Somewhat reminiscent of Trent Reznor’s score for “The Social Network”, themes aren’t heavily featured, but a general tone that matches the scenes happening is prevalent. Electronic beats and computerized (but not midi-sounding) melodic lines keep the mood flowing. Mixed in with the disturbing sound effects, it adds to the tension and doesn’t let up, trapping the audience alongside “Jack” as he tries to survive and make it home to his pregnant wife.
Ultimately, this is an excellent film to watch, and a team of filmmakers to keep an eye on, they have some big things coming up!

Would I watch this film again? Definitely, but I would make sure that I hadn’t eaten yet!

Check out the film on VOD on August 15th! Find out more information here: