FrightFest Martyn Conterio

FrightFest 2017: Attack of the Adult Babies review


★★★☆☆

Dominic Brunt’s third directorial feature is a political satire intent on causing a stink. A tale of human greed and demented obsession with money, Attack of the Adult Babies has a lot to get off its chest and it’s abundantly clear which political parties it’s targeting.

Somewhere in Yorkshire, a cabal of white middle-aged, porcine businessmen and politicians get together, dress up as babies, have dolled up nurses feed them milk, read bedtime stories and change their shitty nappies. The grotesque men at the centre of Brunt’s film are all self-serving hypocrites with dirty secrets. Like a deeply conservative right-wing British politician using media appearances to bemoan centralised government or moralising about the state of the nation, while weekends are spent in the exclusive company of Madame Whiplash, dressed in leather, ball gag in mouth, butt plug inserted where the sun don’t shine.

Pier Paolo Pasolini would have loved Attack of the Adult Babies. The sledgehammer satire is cruel and sharp, with the abundance of excrement – including an explosive finale – used symbolically much like in his fascinating 1975 opus, Salo. Given this is a British production, there’s the unmistakable influence of Carry On productions and Benny Hill. The smutty silliness and skimpy nurses uniforms, though, is deeply ironised. There’s also the frisson of Naziploitation, too, which is surprising.

Though this element taps into domineering, psychotic matron figures and the British characteristic of enjoying a domineering female in a sexualised context, as well as the Pasolini vibe of the setup and the repellent, powerful men at the centre of the drama. Since their debut in 2013’s Before Dawn, creative duo Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell have attempted to bring life to a type of homegrown genre cinema which doesn’t rely on East End gangsters or East End gangsters meeting werewolves or strippers turned into vampires.

Their work is intelligent, well made on low budgets, and explores – rather than exploits – the horror genre. Attack of the Adult Babies is certainly an attention-grabbing title, but it’s a film with something to say about our country and a wider world dominated by greedy bastards determined to keep themselves stuffed with riches while everybody else can go and do one. How Brunt’s film plays out is best kept a secret, but it starts off strange and keeps getting stranger. Disgusting, depraved and not for the faint-hearted, Attack of the Adult Babies is quintessentially British in its humour and perversity, demonstrating too that Brunt and Mitchell deserve a shot at something with a grander budget.

Martyn Conterio | @Cinemartyn