REVIEW: Kuso (2017)

Kuso is being touted as the "grossest film ever made," but I don't know if I'd personally go that far. What is gross, anyway? Is puss and jizz gross? Are open, oozing sores and feces in the face gross? I suppose it's all about the viewer. I, for one, just thought it was a laugh riot.

Kuso means "shit" in Japanese vernacular, but it is also used to describe items of a "poor quality," and I'm sure this title was chosen specifically for that reason. The movie is certainly full of shit, as there's plenty of feces throughout. There's also lots of ooze, puss, spit, and semen, too. If it comes out of a body, it probably makes an appearance here.

The movie is a series of slightly interconnected stories, told through random televisions in what is, apparently, a futuristic Los Angeles after a devastating earthquake. To be fair, the only reason I know that is because that's what the description says on Shudder, where the film is currently, and exclusively, streaming. At no point through the film did I really feel that this plot was really driven home, but in reality, I don't think that having a plot was the point of the movie anyway.

As we bounce from discarded TV to TV, we're introduced to a bevy of characters and creatures, creations and caricatures, each more bizarre than the last. The movie opens with a newscast-cum-musical, which thrusts you immediately into the oddity that this movie will be. We then movie right into a puss and lesion covered man being violently choked by his puss and lesion covered girlfriend during a sexual escapade, with some especially nasty and "explosive" results.  This is all within the first 8 minutes, and it only gets more trippy and gag-inducing from there.

If the movie has a real point, it was lost on me, but that doesn't mean it wasn't still kind of a fun ride. Alternating between grotesque and gore to the hilarious to, well, pornographic, Kuso is an artsy gross-out flick for the Adult Swim crowd. (Coincidentally, Flying Lotus, the film's creator and director, is also a noted musician who created most of the bumper music for Adult Swim.) It's a mashup of David Cronenberg and David Lynch, with the gross-out appeal of a John Waters early opus.

Definitely not for everyone - even those who relish gross-out flicks and body horror or gurgling gore flicks may be turned off by this one, Kuso still plays out as a masterwork in its own world. Maybe it's not the "most vile body horror film ever made," but who the hell is going to tell them otherwise?

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