The Taint (2010)
By: Stuart Giesel on April 27, 2013 | Comments
Troma | Region Free | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DD 2.0 | 75 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
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Director: Drew Bolduc, Dan Nelson
Starring: Drew Bolduc, Colleen Walsh, Cody Crenshaw, Kenneth Hall, Gabriella Herzberg
Screenplay: Drew Bolduc, Dan Nelson
Country: USA
External Links
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Troma. If you're familiar with the name, you know precisely what to expect. The makers and/or distributors of gleefully outrageous slop like The Toxic Avenger, Terror Firmer, Tromeo & Juliet, Poultrygeist, Mother's Day and Father's Day aren't known for their restraint or tendency to spend big, and their latest release The Taint isn't about to buck that trend.

The Taint isn't, as the title possibly suggests, a gay porn film or a fleshy David Cronenberg body horror film, even though the film contains elements of both. It's a virtually plotless avalanche of gore and sleaze. Its shortcomings are many, but it delivers startlingly off-colour material with such relish and a procession of impressive gore effects that it will no doubt satisfy those who like this sort of gruel.

Much of The Taint is reminiscent of a student film production - there's a lot of blonde-haired hero Phil (co-director, co-producer, writer, composer and everything else-er, Drew Bolduc) walking around in the woods in a student outfit and plotless scene after plotless scene that drag on unnecessarily, and feel stitched together simply to ensure the movie reaches a minimal running length so that it can be called a "feature film", regardless of said scene's relevance to the overall storyline.

The plot, for what it's worth, involves a tainted water supply infecting everyone in a shitkicker town, making the men turn into crazed misogynists who run around with leaking genitals attacking the womenfolk in various sickening ways. A student named Phil - who may or may not be intellectually retarded, it's hard to tell - meets up with a tough survivor Misandra (Colleen Walsh) in the forest and they try to survive the outbreak of violent freaks. They come across a strange man wearing a Japanese ghost mask who explains the origins of "the taint", which basically boils down to a get-rich-quick scheme straight from the Internet; the scientific search for a bigger penis, which has inadvertently caused some horrifying side-effects.

Forget stuff like "plot" and "characters" and "stuff". The Taint truly shines in its willingness to splash virtually every bodily emission there is across the screen. Blood, viscera, vomit, piss, shit and ejaculate flow as if Harvey Weinstein made Caligula come back to life and gave him funds to make the sickest film he could think of. It's no surprise, really, when the advertising promotes this as the film with "more zombies with exploding penises than any other movie ever". If that sounds like your idea of a good time, then The Taint is your Holy Grail. Yes indeedy, this film holds nothing back and leaves nothing to the imagination: heads are smashed open like ripe melons, limbs are ripped off, and penises are, yes, exploded.

It's completely shit, of course. Some bits go on far too long for their own good (I'm looking at you, one-shade-removed-from-a-gay-video bodybuilding montage set to 80's soft rock scene) and feel like filler material. There's no compelling narrative to maintain interest, only the morbid curiosity as to what disgusting act will come next. Honestly, I prefer something like Father's Day when it comes to sick cinematic trash - Father's Day was depraved and gruesome but it was also commendably silly, had some interesting characters and the story wasn't scattershot like it is in The Taint. And The Taint's ending feels like a letdown - it just sort of...ends. And yet this isn't a case of talentless folk producing a movie to rival something practically unwatchable like - oh, I don't know - the stupefyingly awful Science Crazed (seriously, check it out if you can, it might still be on YouTube because I assume no one would dare claim ownership of it). The Taint is competently made; the editing is sharp, the synth-style score works well, and the cinematography is quite strong in parts (even if there is a tendency to resort to shaky-cam every now and again). The film is stylish, yet even when it cuts to black and white footage or "arty" shots it still manages to splatter the screen with blood, pus and semen. Despite the horribly violent acts performed against women the film manages to retain a nice level of goofiness; a wise decision as it turns out, because without it the film would probably be unwatchable. The practical effects are for the most part very well done, even though it seems like people are less made out of bone and meat and more like spring-loaded globs of putty able to be busted open with the slightest of effort. The acting is uniformly average, of course, but then this was never Glengarry Glen Ross. And the dialogue is piss-poor, though lines like "fuck, I'm so fucked" do fit in with the rest of this ridiculousness more than a Tarantino-esque monologue would. Though some of the humour is forced, The Taint is clear to point out that at no point is any of this stuff meant to be taken seriously.

If you're still pondering whether or not to check this out, just consider whether you've seen any other Troma films before. If you've liked many of them, chances are you'll enjoy The Taint. If you've seen Terror Firmer - which I believe is very similar in tone and sickness-content - and liked it, then by all means give The Taint a try. If you have any boundaries when it comes to on-screen violence and off-colour material, or was completely grossed out by, say, the scene in Dumb & Dumber where Jeff Daniels voids his bowels on the toilet after downing a massive quantity of laxatives, then you'd be well advised to forget that The Taint even exists.

If you want to see it, my advice is to pick it up before Monster or someone in Australia tries to release it locally and it inevitably gets Refused Classification, even though the film and its material is so ridiculous that no one in their right mind should take it seriously. I can't recommend it outright, but there are some bits that had me laughing like a gibbering idiot, and other scenes that certainly raised an eyebrow. The Taint certainly provoked an emotional response from me, even if it was only sheer disbelief and occasional nausea.
The Disc
You'd expect a film as low budget as The Taint wouldn't look fantastic, and you'd be right, yet the picture is vivid and clean and at times quite eye-catching, either on Blu-Ray or DVD (Troma's release is a two-disc bundle). Same goes for the sound - there's nothing here that's going to rival Avatar, obviously, but for what it's worth The Taint delivers a procession of grisly sound effects and evocative music that sounds like it's been cobbled together from various 16-bit video games. I did find the dialogue to be a bit subdued and occasionally muffled, however.

There are less features here than on some of Troma's other releases. In fact, beyond the two audio commentaries (one with directors Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson which is easily the better commentary, the other with cast members) there's not much other than a handful of deleted scenes (only one of which is worth the time and, in my opinion, should have been left in) and trailers. The commentaries are pretty standard stuff; both feature speakers who may or may not be inebriated, and some people in the background saying things we can't really hear. Bolduc and Nelson's commentary might be worth a listen for rabid fans of The Taint, but the cast commentary suffered from the "blindingly obvious" statements trap that a lot of commentaries   fall into - that of simply repeating what's happened onscreen. A behind-the-scenes slideshow and the usual Tromatic Extras rounds out this average collection of features.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
The Taint gives you as many exploding cocks, smashed heads and spilled fluids than you'd ever want or need in a feature film. It's well made, but suffers from an underdeveloped and meandering screenplay. However, if you like your gore blended with jizz, then - what can I say - you may have found your Citizen Kane.

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