Mad God (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Mad God (2022) Review

Horrorific content by angie on July 01st, 2022 | Movie Review | Mind Bender, Mutant, War, Splatter, Dangerous Exploration, Arthouse, Apocalypse

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It's about a lone assassin whose mission is to detonate a bomb and destroy the putrid, nightmarish world that he journeys through.

Mad God was directed by Phil Tippett (Starship Troopers 2) and stars Niketa RomanSatish RatakondaAlex CoxHarper Taylor, and Brynn Taylor.

Mad God (2022) Review

Special effects mastermind Phil Tippett has worked on some of the most iconic sci-fi and fantasy films of all time, including "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park," and "Starship Troopers." However, for the past 30 years, he's been focused on his passion project, "Mad God," a gruesome and shocking visual masterpiece.

Tippett's "Mad God" is mainly animated, using a variety of stop-motion animation, puppetry, and live-action. The story is told without dialogue, relying instead on visual storytelling. The story, such as it is, follows a few notable characters - most notably The Assassin, a gas-masked observer who descends into a hellish, post-apocalyptic world via capsule.

It seems that his mission is to detonate a bomb in the heart of the darkness; whether he'll arrive or the world will allow the ticking of the bomb's timer to reach zero is another question.

The audience follows The Assassin as they stealthily maneuver around creatures of all shapes and sizes, killing some while narrowly avoiding death themselves. This ruined place is a world that seems to feed off of itself in the most nightmarish ways possible: Men are strapped to electric chairs and endlessly jolted with electricity while their insides pour into the mouth of a vile beast-like machine. This scene is just one of the many shocking visuals throughout the film.

We soon meet other residents of this Lovecraftian nightmare, including the Last Man (played by director Alex Cox). He seems to control the various Assassins he sends into the abyss. A nurse finds herself caring for a robotic child with tentacles that would make Rob Bottin, another VFX master and the prosthetics whiz behind "RoboCop" and "Total Recall" wince. Soon, it becomes clear that "Mad God" is less about finding a way through the darkness than simply reveling in it.

"Mad God" has an animation style similar to the Brothers Quay, with dark and textured cinematography by Chris Morley. The animation is expertly done, and everything looks like it would be interesting (or unpleasant) to touch.

Although the film is ugly, Dan Wool's score is beautiful. It mixes guitars and synthetic sounds that make the horrible things on-screen seem majestic.

And then there are the creature and set designs, which are imaginative and original. The animals look like they came straight from a horror movie, and the sets are bleak and desolate. The filmmaker put a lot of thought into the design of this film.

The overriding feeling "Mad God" instills is one of abject despair. It's a scary movie, primarily because of its nihilistic outlook. Life is complicated and full of suffering. Hope is a rare commodity, and nothing good lasts forever. All living creatures must consume others to survive, just as capitalism feeds on production and consumption. "Mad God" is one of the vilest and most awful movies in recent memory. The movement of every single character creates a feeling of immense pain.

In interviews, Tippett has admitted that working on "Mad God" was a difficult and frustrating experience. Yet, here it is, 30 years later, a testament to the hard work and dedication that goes into creating art. The film begins with a quote from Leviticus, a ruthless book of the Bible, describing the horrifying consequences that will befall the world if its people reject their creator. If Tippett is the hostile "Mad God," then this project is his means of processing his anger and delighting in the destruction of his creations.

There is an aesthetic appeal to the insanity depicted in "Mad God," from the dedication of Tippett's work to the eerie clarity of his vision. This is a story of a world-devouring itself to stay alive, which serves as a grim allegory for capitalism. It's also a film about how artistic creativity can affect the artist's health and sanity. Finally, it's an 85-minute, real-time portrayal of Tippett's battle to get the project done in the first place.

Worth Watching? 

You could become very absorbed in Tippett's self-destructive behavior, to the point where you forget about lunch. Or, you could lose your appetite altogether. But in the final, mesmerizing minutes of "Mad God," you might find a spark of hope that we, too, can create a new world from the wreckage of the old.

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