Death Toilet (2018)

Rating: C

Dir: Evan Jacobs
Star: Mike Hartsfield, Isaac Golub

Contrary to what you might expect, this wasn’t even the worst movie I saw today. That dubious honour goes to Korean Netflix Original Unlocked, which was two hours of rank stupidity. This, in contrast, was only 54 minutes of rank stupidity, so I feel like I came out ahead. There is also a sense some of the idiocy here might be deliberate. It is, as the title suggests, about a murderous piece of bathroom furniture. It has already killed once, and the brother of its victim, has returned from a tour of duty in ‘Nam to get the house ready for sale. It’s not long before Brett Baxter (Hartsfield) realizes something is up. It’s not normal, for example, to be laughed at by your toilet, and he suspects a link to his sibling’s demise.

After he pronounces solemnly, “That toilet’s got a lot of explaining to do,” he decides to get help from the Catholic church. For obvious reasons, he gets hung up on a lot, before eventually finding Father Dingleberry (Golub), who agrees to perform a much-needed exorcism, though even the priest, a specialist in this kind of thing, has severe doubts. When flames start shooting out of the bowl – albeit shoddily rendered and entirely unconvincing digital ones – Dingleberry is convinced, and begins the ceremony. It doesn’t go well. Let’s just say, there are reasons why there are five entries in the franchise, including the recently released Amityville Death Toilet.

To be clear, I won’t be going further into the extremely niche horror subgenre of possessed plumbing. If ever there was a single-joke film, this is it, and despite the abbreviated running-time, is pushing it [Sidenote: it’d still qualify as a feature for Academy Award purposes, which only requires a length of 40 minutes] There’s way too much stock footage of Vietnam, which is used mostly as lazy shorthand for Baxter having PTSD, or to fill an entirely unnecessary “intermission”. He’s a thoroughly unconvincing vet, whether it’s the entirely different name stitched onto his camo jacket, or the obvious red blob on the end of his pistol. I suspect these are deliberately left in, but are still indicative of incredibly lazy film-making.

All that said, it wasn’t even the second-worst film I saw yesterday. By chance, we also watched a zero-budget horror film from the Netherlands, De Rombekomber. It was a little terser (45 minutes), and also about a possessed object – a musical box. However, it was aiming higher, and as such, likely fell shorter. It definitely seemed to be taking itself seriously, a failing of which Toilet could never be accused. This instead leans into the idiocy of the whole concept with enthusiasm. However, the resources are not enough to deliver. For a suitable payoff, we need to see the toilet levitating, spinning and projectile vomiting sewage. Instead, all we get is the seat banging a bit. Odd, unconnected elements like inexplicable knives, and eyeballs floating in the bowl, are insufficient to make up for this. Still more entertaining than Unlocked though.