German Gross-Out

If you see one film this year featuring anal fissures, it might as well be "Wetlands"

So, how does one review a movie like "Wetlands" without being totally disgusting?

The answer is that you really can't. This is one of the grossest movies I have ever seen. If bodily functions, fluids, odors and generally stank and sticky things coming out of all orifices make you queasy, don't see the movie and don't read my review.

Mind you, this review is coming from a guy who went into uncontrolled gagging spasms while cleaning up after somebody's dog the other day, so I am kind of a pussy.

I will try to be as discreet as possible. All right, where to begin? Okay, here I go.

Helen (Carla Juri) is unhealthily obsessed with her hemorrhoids and her vagina. Her life is a series of medical experiments involving dirty toilet seats, a lack of showering to create all states of smells and being in her nether regions, and shaving her anus.

One time, while shaving her anus, she creates a bloody anal fissure (Hooray!) and seeks medical attention. While at the hospital, she develops a crush on Robin (Christoph Letkowski), her nurse. She tantalizes him with lots of frank talk about her anus and unclean vagina, and Robin is relatively smitten along with being slightly horrified. After surgery on her injured anus, she requests the removed piece of her butthole and makes him photograph the injury. Then, she shits herself.

Folks, I can't make this stuff up. I haven't even gotten to the gross stuff yet, like when Helen purposefully tears open her surgical wound while crapping herself again, thus creating a bloody-crappy mess that requires more emergency surgery and a longer hospital stay. In short, "Wetlands" is the year's greatest family fun movie!

The movie is categorized as a drama/comedy, but I think it should get some consideration as a horror/comedy as well. This is body horror at its most frank. It makes Kevin Smith's latest, "Tusk," look like a children's story. I swear I could smell this movie as it was playing, and my stomach was turning. This is not a movie that concerns itself with presenting its subject matter in subtle ways. It goes all out with the yucky stuff.

And, yet, I have to admit I sort of enjoyed it. Juri is funny, and she manages to make you care for Helen and her obvious societal issues as her past unfolds. Letkowski is equally appealing as the befuddled nurse who can't help but be attracted to the strange girl who tries to cover up the fact she just shat the bed so she can hang out with him longer (Her main physician clearly states to her that she will be released upon her first post ass surgery bowel movement, so she must keep her bathroom activities a secret).

I should also add that between bouts with my gag reflex, I couldn't help but notice that the movie, directed by David Wnendt, looks great. There's some cool imagery of Helen floating around the hospital on her skateboard, and I also liked the CGI credit sequence involving bacteria on a toilet seat looking like dinosaurs fighting it out upon magnification.

Your ability to handle Helen's body experiments or, better said, your tolerance for watching them, clearly depends upon your own life experiences. I'm thinking caregivers, nurses, and people with slovenly spouses will be just fine with the more graphic sequences. I wouldn't be surprised if what made me wretch would make others laugh.

So, oddly enough, I do give a mild recommendation to "Wetlands." It's a well made, albeit stinky and yucky, movie with some winning performances and a few sequences that don't involve infected anuses being popped and excrement shooting all over the floor.

Okay...I just gagged again.

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