Title: Assholes (Fantasia 2017 review)

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Comedy / Romance / Drama

Language: English

Runtime: 74 min

Director: Peter Vack

Writer: Peter Vack

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6098486/

Aaron gets herpes from using his friend Adam's bong. One day the now-sober Adah, Adam's sister, starts making out with Aaron. From that moment on, Adah and Aaron's affair grows into a relationship built on herpes-heavy sex, getting stoned, rectums and hating the mundane lives other people live.

Our thoughts:
It feels like the duty as a reviewer at Film Bizarro to watch a movie that has been called "one of the most disgusting movies ever made". Part of it is because I have a genuine curiosity about odd movies, part of it is to debunk such statements! It sounds cynical, surely, but in the type of films we have specialized in, you read similar quotes for every other movie. In reality, what I usually care about is not so much if a movie is "the most disgusting" or "the most shocking", but rather if there is a good reason that the filmmakers have decided to make a repulsive movie, or if it's just for the attention. Had this been a horror movie, my only reason for watching it would be to see how far it goes, but as a comedy it became a lot more intriguing to me purely as entertainment. Hey, don't blame me! I grew up on Troma, and God knows they have made me laugh with their repulsiveness more than they ever scared me. "Assholes" wants you to laugh at its absurdities!

As I was watching "Assholes" (a title that alone stood out in this year's Fantasia International Film Festival) I quickly came to the realisation that "Assholes" both is and isn't the kind of movie you put under a microscope. Yes, this is a gross movie. Perhaps not the grossest out there, but it goes out of its way to be gross. Is there a reason for it? Well, I don't know... The movie, just like the characters in it, is too busy being fucked up to care about what you think. It's a movie about assholes, presented as if made by assholes, and one that probably entertains assholes.

This is the story of how Adah and Aaron came to find love in each other. As Adam accidentally spreads herpes to his friend Aaron when they share a bong, Aaron in his turn spreads it to the now-sober Adah. Adah doesn't care, she just wants to get fucked so that she can forget about how bad her life is when she can't drink. Aaron has also been looking for the right girl; a girl who will offer her asshole to him, as his deepest sexual fantasies include gaping assholes. When Adah and Aaron become hooked on sniffing something called "Charge", their herpes-and-anus-infused sexual relationship grows ten-fold, and they no longer give a fuck about what other people think.

What exactly makes "Assholes" a gross movie, though? Honestly, it's not that bad, but it mostly include a fair share of licking/sucking of herpes sores. It also shows herpes on Aaron's penis and balls graphically. And finally, some quite revealing sexual positions where they eat each others assholes out (doesn't show actual penetration of tongues and such though). Oh and there is a demon being birthed from Adah's butthole (also not graphically)!

"Assholes" is an outrageous movie, made by some bold people. Peter Vack, writer and director of the movie and who also plays Adam, has somehow managed to convince an entire team to make a movie that includes these really messy things. Luckily, it's portrayed by actors that seem so genuinely have fun making this as gross as it ever could be. I'm happy that movies like these can exist, and not just in a no-budget, SOV-level school of filmmaking, but rather as a comedy of relatively high standards! I just wonder where the hell Peter Vack goes from here!

There seems to be some more meaningful thoughts put into the screenplay though, even if it's nothing too deep. It's all in the title. "Assholes". This is about self-absorbed people that live in their own little bubble, like so many youngsters these days. Surprisingly, it has a nice side to it as well. It's about the love and desire between two fucked up people. They are not bothered by what other people think; they'll kiss herpes sores if they want to! They are fucked up and gross beyond control, but they seem pretty fucking happy about it. There's a nice sentiment to that. Except, you know, they are stoned and actually horrible people!

This is the kind of movie that is funny in the moment, but it never becomes anything grander than a gross-out comedy. It has plenty of funny moments, although some are simply funny from the disbelief of what you're seeing. When the movie is at its funniest, it's probably because of some very out-there performance by Betsey Brown as Adah and Jack Dunphy as Aaron. They seem way too comfortable to be such gross people, and I love them for that. One of the oddest segments includes them wandering around being obscene on the streets, and it's hard to know if that was just shot on the actual streets, or if it's staged. It certainly had a weird, pleasant, no-fucks-given energy to it!

Why do you want to watch "Assholes"? Are you curious because you want to be shocked? If so, skip it. Are you curious because you want to see something weird? Then by all means, watch it! This movie is way too light-hearted and comical to have a shock effect on its viewers, but you can't help but wonder where the hell it will end up. The movie is often weirder than it is gross, and perhaps it could be described as a live-action "South Park" episode inspired by David Cronenberg. That's not to say it has the best traits of either "South Park" or David Cronenberg, as it doesn't reach the levels of genius, but it's an interesting thing to witness! Like "The Greasy Strangler" recently, this is not for everyone, but some people will eat it up. Personally, I had a fun and odd time with it while watching it and I'm quite okay with that.

Oh and remember the demon of poop that I mentioned? It's played by Eileen Dietz. Where have you heard that name before? Well, she was Pazuzu's face in "The Exorcist". This fact alone will sell plenty of people on this movie!

Positive things:
- An appropriate title!
- It's a funny kind of gross.
- I love how devoted everyone involved seemed to this crazy idea. I can't help but encourage that.
- There's a pleasant energy to it.
- Though mainly weird and silly, there are some satirical points to it (I wouldn't say it's much of a statement though).
Negative things:
- I might not remember it as much more than "that weird butthole movie".

Gore: 0.5/5
Nudity: 4.5/5
Story: 1.5/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 3.5/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2017

Reviewed by:


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