Monday, June 13, 2022

Mad God (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Mad God (2022)
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Horror
Length:  1h 23min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Tippett Studio, Shudder
Director: Phil Tippett
Writers: Phil Tippett
Actors: Alex Cox, Niketa Roman, Satish Ratakonda, Harper Taylor, Brynn Taylor
IMDb Blurb: A corroded diving bell descends amidst a ruined city and the Assassin emerges from it to explore a labyrinth of bizarre landscapes inhabited by freakish denizens.

Selina’s Point of View:
Do not go into Mad God thinking it’s a typical horror. Horrors push the limits of fear. Mad God pushes the limits of disgust and the disturbing.
I don’t entirely know what I was expecting. I knew there was not going to be any discernible dialogue, and that it was more of a showcase of visual arts, but I still didn’t fully expect something this experimental. Normally, I don’t do well with that kind of thing, but this was leagues above anything else.
If anything, I’d compare the horrific visuals of Mad God to the feel of a David Cronenberg (The Fly, Crimes of the Future, eXistenZ) film before anything else. Though, there were some that also brought to mind the video game Little Nightmares (2017). Both things are sincere compliments coming from me.

It was a piece of extremely disturbing artwork. I think that’s the best way to describe the experience of watching Mad God. It’s less like sitting down to a basic movie and more like taking a walking tour of a single piece of renaissance artwork depicting hell. “The Harrowing of Hell” by Jacob van Swanenburg comes to mind.
Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) showed off his absolutely incredible talent in ways no one else could, and he created a masterpiece.
It’s not the kind of thing that would be for everyone, not even every horror film buff. For people willing to test their limits, however, Mad God is a must-see. 

Cat’s Point of View:
It’s not every day that you hear about an animation genius and pioneer working 30 years on their magnum opus. That very passion project, which had survived a slow churn on the backburner while he worked in his career, now had a scheduled release. This was something that firmly caught our attention.
From the outset, the trailer for Mad God promised a trippy experience through a stop-motion animated landscape of horrors. Phil Tippett (RoboCop, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation) seriously outdid himself. This cinematic offering was almost the opposite of what I would have expected from the man behind the visual effects of some of my most beloved movies of all time.
The level of darkness explored within this feature was, frankly, alarming. Part of me was torn between wanting someone to perform a wellness check on Tippett and the realization that Mad God was far more than its shocking surface.
We all have inner demons that manifest in different ways. It’s often the case with creative souls. H. R. Giger had to create his artwork to purge his nightmares. In this case, Tippett was giving us some social commentary. My own curiosity drove me to hunt down whatever information was out there that spoke to the answer for the burning question – where did this come from? I think the HorrorBuzz interview captured a great explanation: he watched the news.

Regardless of its origins, Mad God played out like a hellish fever dream of a brutal and cruel nightmare world. It was a meticulously crafted literal descent into depraved madness. As an animated horror movie, Mad God undeniably represented the genre well. At the same time, I felt like I needed a shower after I finished watching. I also had some really crazy dreams. I digress…
While Mad God was a genre masterpiece, I would be remiss if there weren’t a few disclaimers mentioned.
Any who does not react well to graphic body horror might want to heavily consider their tolerance levels before viewing this production. Honestly, anyone that doesn’t do well with gore might want to give Mad God a pass. I generally stomach these things fairly well and felt myself going a bit green at a few points and experienced a few gagging moments. Mad God is not for the faint of heart or constitution.
While I laud the work, creativity, and craftsmanship poured into this movie, Mad God wouldn’t be my average choice for entertainment. I will likely never watch it again intentionally, however, it will haunt me forever with its layered messages and ghastly visuals. 

Mad God will premiere on Shudder Thursday, June 16th.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –None
Metascore – 70%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.0/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5

Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Movie Trailer:

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