BHFF 2022 All Jacked Up And Full Of Worms Review- A Mesmerizing Bad Trip
This disgusting Pinocchio reimagining is disgusting, disturbing, and necessary viewing for anyone who is into transgressive horror. Everything in All Jacked Up And Full Of Worms is designed to make you feel gross and uncomfortable. The characters are a menagerie of broken dolls, predatory psychopaths, and, strangely worse, a semi-sympathetic pedophile in the making. It’s a weird, polarizing experience that isn’t meant to be enjoyable. Instead, it’s about feeling, and boy, do you feel something.
Horror can mean many different things. It can be the traditional scares of monsters, demons, killers, and the paranormal. These types of movies can also be about those undefinable things that make us uncomfortable, tense, or disturbed. It is in this space that All Jacked Up And Full Of Worms lives. A kaleidoscopic mess of human flaws and grotesquerie, Alex Phillip’s film wants you to feel something. Unfortunately, that thing is repulsion. That’s not to say there isn’t merit to the intense film, just that it is really hard to watch.
All Jacked Up And Full Of Worms is showing as part of the Brooklyn Horror Film Fest 2022. It is admittedly not for everyone. The loosely plotted psychedelic free for all is full of vile images. Gross-out movies are not for everyone. However, there is a very specific type of person that movies like Feed, Salo, and Kuso appeal to. If you are one of those, then Phillip’s movie is a shining example. It is both more and less than it presents and offers enough viscera for the strongest stomach. It’s like a bizarre love child of Gummo, Possum, and Requiem For A Dream. Shocking and affecting, it is the kind of movie that forces you to watch between gags and covered eyes. It is easily the most disgusting movie this year.
Phillip’s film is about addiction. In this case, the addiction to hallucinogenic earthworms that can be eaten, snorted or placed inside the body in any way that seems like a great idea to the user. Proving just how smart Phillip’s film is, the drug worms are the least strange thing in the movie. Instead, they become just the showcase for the sundry ghastly humans who seek the slimy high.
A seedy hotel worker who has massive problems with his girlfriend begins a relationship with Benny when they discover the potent worms. Roscoe is an okay enough guy who has turned his life over to a girlfriend who moved another man into their apartment and disrespected him constantly. Benny is a troubled young man desperate enough for a baby; he purchased one off the internet. Somehow, the implication of what actually arrives is even more upsetting than having a human baby delivered to his house. An infant sex doll arrives with all the abhorrent anticipation that something like that comes with. I don’t know if baby sex dolls exist. I was quite frankly afraid to look.
The worms catapult the two men into a violent world where nothing is taboo, and they will do anything to get their next fix. It’s transfixing how many awful ways All Jacked Up And Full Of Worms tortures people. The viewer is carried along the drug-fueled ride, never sure what is real and what is a byproduct of the worm. I’m still unsure what I watched and whether the societal messaging was intentional. This film seems to want to make correlations between mental health and hallucinogenic drug use, and I couldn’t help but cringe when later on Bachelor In Paradise, Michael A was described as a zaddy. Ultimately though, the random haphazardness of the storyline holds that more profound impact back.
Flash forward to a final act twist that must be seen to be believed, and I was left confused. Benny unbelievably becomes the sympathetic protagonist, and dreams or nightmares really do come true. Everything in between is a technicolor nightmare of messed up people and even worse circumstances. It’s a wild ride that should be enough to scare anyone off of anything stronger than pot for a long while.
There is something fascinating about Phillip’s film. Everything has that gossamer quality that a dream has right as you wake up. Nothing makes sense despite your best attempts to hold onto it. In this way, the disjointed vignettes of gore make sense. All Jacked Up And Full Of Worms is a bad trip, complete with the physical aftermath and regret the next day.
Although a few too many moments don’t fit together to make this a genuinely insightful, if a repellent, piece of shocking genius, it shows significant promise and intrigues me about where Phillips will take us next.
Find all our Brooklyn Horror Fil Fest coverage here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.