Attack of the Adult Babies Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Nucleus Films
Directed by Dominic Brunt
Written by Joanne Mitchell (story), Paul Shrimpton
2017, 84 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 11th June 2018
Kurtis Lowe as Tim
Andrew Dunn as George
Andy Abrahams as Jeremy
Charlie Chuck as Tony
After reaching success and acclaim with his gritty kitchen sink zombie movie and his gritty kitchen sink loan shark drama, director Dominic Brunt goes for a different flavour with his third feature, exchanging the grit and the kitchen sink for middle-aged men in nappies and explosive diarrhoea. With his previous works, Brunt has proven himself adept in the subgenre of British misery, but does his expertise extend to the surrealist black comedy he covets here? Well, he certainly deserves an A for effort if the bizarre, grotesque, bizarrely grotesque Attack of the Adult Babies is anything to go on. There's still a metaphorical kitchen sink, of sorts, but this one is filled with excrement.
The adult babies in question are a consortium of middle-aged toffs, unwinding at a high-end resort run by naughty nurses, their scary dominatrix boss and her even scarier assistant (Brunt's wife, producer and apparent muse, Joanne Mitchell). There they'll regress to infancy, defecating into their nappies, crying like stupid babies and suckling from a mysterious milk which appears to make the transformation run more than skin deep.
Onto this scene stumbles a seemingly average family, blackmailed into breaking onto the resort when their father is held hostage by Eastern European gangsters. But to what end? Will they escape with their lives when the adult babies, as the title promises, start attacking? And, most importantly, how many scenes of adult men soiling themselves can one audience tolerate before it all becomes a bit much?
Unfortunately, Attack of the Adult Babies is both a bit much and not enough. How effective one finds it to be as a black comedy or work of avant-garde 'horror' depends entirely on one's reaction to poo, masturbation and the sight of grown men in nappies. The humour, horror, surrealism and grotesquerie all hinge on exactly the same hypothesis – that fat old white men shitting into their diapers while acting like babies is inherently funny, scary, surreal and icky. Which it is, granted, but maybe not for eighty minutes.
Neither big nor clever, it's puerile and excessive in the worst way, lacking in a thematic point or meaning. Without the straight face of the similarly strange and British Aaaaaaaah! it falls flat, and none of Brunt's main cast are capable of the deadpan reaction work required of them. It's all very British soap opera... but with Lawrence R. Harvey in a nappy. You certainly won't find that on t'dales.
Sadly, it looks even cheaper than that, lacking the visual verve of, say,The Greasy Strangler or the nightmarish other-ness of Jam (which is what one suspects Brunt was really going for), resulting in one of the uglier British indies you'll ever see. And it's not just visually ugly either, with a suspect through-line in misogynistic violence which isn't backed up thematically or justified in its writing. It's unpleasant, which is the point, but it's pretty much the film's only point.
Already goo-goo for Brunt's previous movies, I went into Attack of the Adult Babies hoping for the best. Unfortunately, it's a disappointment. It could have made for a great short film or ABCs of Death segment (other anthology movies are available), but this feels overlong and paddy padded. Where it is at its most successful is in the last fifteen minutes, when it cuts loose and abandons the flailing conceit. If only Brunt had been brave enough to have done this half an hour ago – or cut his film's runtime in half.
Attack of the Adult Babies is a shame, rarely living up to its title or core concept. There are moments of strength which remind the viewer why we fell in love with Dominic Brunt: Horror Filmmaker in the first place – and his ambition is to be commended – but it never comes together into a cohesive whole.