Fantasia 2017 – ‘ASSHOLES’
Fairest of warnings: Assholes is one of the most disgusting, extreme features I’ve ever seen. STD’s, extremely gross close ups, graphic nudity, an obsession with analingus, scat play, and an anal demon baby woman are all in play. Also, intoxicated nightmares. I sat through this movie with a sense of anxiety heretofore untapped. In what is undoubtedly the strangest film at Fantasia 2017, there is a lot of unpleasant behavior. I have no idea how to describe this movie. If you watched The Greasy Strangler and came away with “that made too much sense,” have I got the train wreck for YOU!
Adah (Betsey Brown) is a desperate, attention starved girl who will go to any lengths. Her brother Adam (Peter Vack) wants to connect through getting messed up, and Adah is sober. Her parents? Forget it. That’s where Adam’s friend Aaron (Adam Dunphy) comes in. Adah attaches to Aaron and they connect over their (now shared) cold sores, love of anal play, and a legal huffing drug. It gets so, so much worse from here once Adah and Aaron’s anal love gives birth to a demon (Pazuzu herself, Eileen Dietz) and her antics create more havoc for the couple. Or it’s all in their head.
Betsey Brown and Peter Vack are brother and sister, and their parents in the film are their actual parents. How they agreed to be in this is nothing short of a miracle given the content, but Vack being the writer/director as well probably had something to do with it. They could, after all, have just as sick a sense of humor. A majority of moments are obviously improvised, leaning heavily towards a “mumblecore” parody while also skewering today’s youth in the writing. Vack is a talented director, for sure. A lengthy montage in and around Times Square is questionable as to if there was even a shooting permit to begin with. This is some of the most uncomfortable I’ve been watching a movie in some time, and these are just the public stunts! None of the characters are likable, at all, but that’s kinda the point, and both Brown and Dunphy are likable in their deplorable roles.
There’s a fair amount of tongue in cheek commentary hidden underneath the gross out, cringe fest that I’ve discovered on reflection. The last 20 minutes or so of the movie pulls the rug out from under the audience completely, and the film turns into something else that is so left field…but at the same time makes EXACTLY the right amount of sense. I won’t spoil the surprise here, but I’d almost say the movie is worth enduring if only to see where it ends up. It’s hilarious. This is not an easy recommendation, but with hesitation I will. You have been duly warned, though.
Good news! In addition to playing at Fantasia 2017, the film has been picked up by Breaking Glass Pictures for a limited run and VOD/DVD release in the near future!
Gross-out satire unlike anything you've seen, guaranteed to make John Waters' best of the year list, often quite funny.
Repulsive and as cringe worthy as anything I've seen in quite some time -- there IS an audience for this, but I have no idea exactly who that is.