Six patrons become trapped inside a dilapidating New Mexico drinking hole when tainted Mexican tequila infests an unlucky boozer, turning him into a host for flesh-eating larvae and into an unwilling hand against the rest in seeking desperately for more flesh to feast upon. With the back and front doors inoperable and the phone lines dead due to lack of payment, the bar regulars must use every ounce of their fleeting sobriety and every aspect of the small hole in the wall bar to keep hope carbonated and afloat if they want to escape alive.
If you’re a fan of “Night of the Creeps,” “Slugs,” or “Slither,” this campy creepy-crawler will be your go-to session brew of choice because, finally, 2012’s “Rotgut” infests inside a home video distributor, courtesy of always delightful Camp Motion Picture. Director Billy Garberina helms the charge collaborating with another of Devin O’Leary’s scribed films involving a drinking establishment’s handful of thirsty-allured anti-heroes finding themselves literally fighting through their inebriated state against almost exactly the same intoxicating liquid they so desperately crave. Sure beats the hell out of an AA meeting.
“Rotgut,” simply put, is just not another run-of-the-mill creature film, oozing a path toward lovers of the said genre while still managing to follow a familiar suit within a typical bar location that becomes the death ensnarement, but this time around, a congregation of alcoholics are the hapless victims that are pitted up against the odds, similar to that of Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk till Dawn” and John Gulager’s “Feast,” but with more enticing and gross body horror and less antagonizing vampires and monsters.
Structurally, O’Leary individually sets up the players – Leon, Tom, Sloppy, Verna, Deena, Allen, and The Professor – to instill a developing persona or just provide an interesting backstory into each body that adds flavor to their character that would evidently punch you in the face when that character bites the fateful bullet and instead of creating good natured, outstanding personalities to fight a ghastly force, as if to underline good versus evil, the roster consists of deplorable and degenerative drunks embodied with past, present, and future hiccups and are on the cusp of not being redeemable toward being a part of society until faced with life and death choices to expose their true nature. Then, there is trio of ATF officers who are literal to each of the words of the acronym they represent; one officer smokes cigarettes, another drinks out of a flask, and the last official carries a sidearm. The dialogue-stricken characters need no exposition as they’re cleverly written into the story that’s already exchanges heavy in confabulation amongst the main roles mentioned above.
The impressiveness with Hank Carlson and teams’ practical effects don’t go unnoticed while, at the same time, the composite shots from visual effects artist Luke Fitch were just as effective. Both departments relayed the visceral consuming nature of the worms, splattering eye-popping blood everywhere, and transmitting their antibiosis organism through some fairly gnarly ways. Working with sluggishly minuscule organisms, whether digital, inanimately practically, or real, can be problematic, but Gaberina and team had the precision and the talent that made “Rotgut” outlandishly enjoyable with a half gallon handle of smeared blood slicked over the cast including Jeremy Owen, Aaron Worley, Megan Pribyl, Paul Alsing, Merritt Glover, Isreal Wright, and Whitney Moore.
Four years have swiftly gone by since this film quietly made debut in 2012 and has finally landed onto DVD from the fine folks at Camp Motion Pictures! “Rotgut” has undeservingly gone under the radar, but it shall no more, gifting audiences with supreme worm mayhem and bloodshed. The not rated DVD is presented in a 16×9 widescreen format with bonus features including a trailer vault and a lengthy behind-the-scenes featurette that displays the good times, and sometimes stressful times, of independent filmmaking. In the end, “Rotgut” come out on top with the gooiest, slimiest, and stickiest creature feature this side of the 2010.