Movies

Mad God Review: A Mind-Blowing Post-Apocalyptic Experience

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Released to the public on Shudder in June of this year, Mad God is a post-apocalyptic experience perfect for Halloween.

It’s not hard to understand how director Phil Tippett took thirty years to create the film. This is an immersive and visually stunning movie that is as thematically deep as it is rich in compelling (and horrific) imagery. Mad God should be top on your watch list this October.

The premise is simple:
The Assassin travels through a nightmare underworld of tortured souls, ruined cities and wretched monstrosities.

Mad God made waves when it was released at the Locarno Film Festival in 2021, as it was filmed almost entirely using Stop Motion. This technique creates an uncanny valley effect on the viewer as well as a distance that allows for visuals that, while twisted, don’t feel like torture porn if they had instead been performed with actors.

Don’t get me wrong – this movie is dark, intense, gory, and definitely not for the faint of heart. I’ve watched a lot of experimental films in my day, and this one tops even Eraserhead (in fact, elements of Mad God remind me of that cult film from 1977).

Without giving too much away, Mad God introduces the viewer to the most hellish post-apocalyptic setting you can imagine, then broadens the story to bring in more classic scenes from the genre, complete with numerous nuclear detonations.

The main character is a masked traveller, on a mission to bring a briefcase to a specific location. Given their face is covered, we’re not sure whether the warped scenes they pass are received with horror, resignation, or nonchalance. This prevents the viewer from taking cues of how they should feel from the actor and instead experiencing them as if they were there. It’s an immersive experience that you can’t stop watching.

But what is it really about? If the initial visuals don’t entirely burn your brain to mush, as the story progresses, it’s clear the movie is suggesting that the “mad god” is, in fact, gold or, by extension,  avarice. Mad God paints a bleak, tortured world where the desire for wealth creates a self-destructive cycle, a warning that is entirely without hope.

Despite this dreary tone, the movie is too visually stunning to be depressing and instead, is a testament to the artistry of film.

 

You can find Mad God on Shudder.

T. S. Beier is obsessed with science fiction, the ruins of industry, and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards and a semi-finalist in Hugh Howey's 2021 Self-Published Science Fiction Competition) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (space opera). She is a book reviewer, editor, freelance writer, and co-owner of Rising Action Publishing Co. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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