Ryan Lightbourn is a sick bastard. His 2011 action-packed short flick “Roid Rage” packs so much carnage into such a small space that you have to wonder how his mind could process such cinematic debauchery without landing the poor guy in a padded cell. From the first frame to the very last, “Roid Rage” assaults you with an assortment of twisted ideas and over-the-top imagery, most of which are centered around our hero’s mutated anus. That sentence probably turned half of you off, and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t blame you at all if you bowed out now. After all, watching an irradiated butthole savagely snack on an unsuspecting physician’s face isn’t designed for mass appeal. In my household, this is every other Tuesday. Not literally, of course. I wouldn’t want anyone to walk away from this review with the wrong idea. But, I digress.
It doesn’t take long for Lightbourn and crew to get down to business. A string of disturbing murders involving mutilated prostitutes have been plaguing the city, leaving detectives thoroughly befuddled. All of their leads prove fruitless, that is, until they discover the local proctologist’s mangled corpse in one of his examination rooms. Who’s responsible this heinous crime, you ask? Could it be that nuclear power plant employee who keeps burning through tube after hair-encrusted tube of cor-RECTUM for his hemorrhoids? All signs are pointing directly into his posterior, and it’s only a matter of time before the fecal matter hits the cinematic fan. An assortment of grisly set pieces await those brave enough to venture into these sickening waters, all of which make very good use of the film’s off-kilter premise. If low-brow humor isn’t your thing, don’t even bother stopping by.
Writer/director Ryan Lightbourn stretches his non-existent budget to its breaking point, delivering several insanely impressive effects despite the film’s obvious limitations. Faces are gnawed away, eyeballs are ripped from their sockets, intestines spill from gaping gunshot wounds — it’s all up front and center, for better or for worse. Granted, not every moment is a winner — the narration seems a bit wonky, and there are a handful of dodgy computer-generated shoot-outs — but Lightbourn’s ambitions far outweight the picture’s shortcomings. The damn thing has Troma written all over it, and had it been stretched into a feature-length endeavor, would dwell in the same warped galaxy as Drew Buldoc and Dan Nelson’s “The Taint”. That’s extremely high praise, just in case you wondering.
Is “Roid Rage” for everyone? Of course not — don’t be silly. This is for those of us who enjoy our action dipped and deep-fried in thick red gore. It’s a nasty little picture specifically constructed to appeal to the B-movie aficionados who’ve traded good taste in exchange for flesh-eating anuses and their sex-peddling victims. Lightbourn is one hell of a director, executing things on his shoestring budget that other filmmakers couldn’t perform with deeper pockets. Would I have liked for the entire experience to have been a bit longer? Yes, very much so. However, I’ve a feeling that Lightbourn and his talented, dedicated cast may revisit this material in the near future. I think there’s a bigger audience for the misadventures of a man and his mutated anuses than any of us are aware of.
Ryan Lightbourn (director) / Ryan Lightbourn (screenplay)
CAST: Zach Canfield … Sammy
John Carvalho … Donnie the Bear
Ben Evans … Agent Monroe
John Archer Lundgren … The Doc
John Russo … Agent Jenkins