What is the word describing everlasting tedium? Infinitedium perhaps? Whatever that word is it is perhaps the only way of describing Jesse Thomas Cook’s Septic Man. This is a film that promises much after opening scenes that test taste and decency to the limit, but then, along with its antagonist, descends into unwelcome and unbearable squalor.
Jack (Jason David Brown) is The Septic Man, his hometown’s sewerage expert who is tasked by a mysterious individual with discovering the source of the contagion that is making everyone sick. As all the residents begin to leave, along with Jack’s long suffering and heavily pregnant wife, he remains to investigate and finds himself in more trouble than he could have possibly have imagined.
Following the unpleasantly interesting opening Septic Man becomes depressingly attritional. When Jack first finds himself trapped in the sewer he is investigating the toxic conditions begin to cause a horrific and puss-filled transformation the likes of The Toxic Avenger spring directly to mind. Optimism slowly dissipates however as Jack remains trapped for an interminable length of time while being taunted by a strange giant and a rat-faced maniac.
It’s difficult to tell exactly what the filmmakers had in mind with Septic Man. Nothing really happens at all and what characters there are seem to be the result of a random production meeting; ‘Let’s have a giant, everyone likes a giant.’ ‘Let’s give the bad guy fangs, yes, why not?’ The effects on the whole are pretty good but add little to the film itself. It’s strange that following the interesting, and completely disgusting, prologue nothing more could be done with what possibly began as a good idea as the transformation effects become the base that the film relies heavily upon. There do seem to be attempts at creating a kind of dystopian subterranean world but this is lost amidst the traumatic stupor the films places you in.
Septic Man is a film that struggles to justify its existence. Apart from an initial five minute spell there is nothing original or valid in the film that follows and it is as instantly forgettable as it is endlessly unwatchable.