A young boy returns home to find his mother being brutally raped and murdered by a gas mask-wearing assailant (Kyle Gredder). After stabbing the boy, the criminal escapes. Twenty years later, that traumatized boy has grown up to be Detective Dirt (Cody Graham), the best there is at dealing with the worst of society. His tactics are questionable (such as pissing on a criminal and yanking their dick off during an interrogation), but he gets the job done. Only now there are a bunch of crimes surfacing that seem to be connected to the gas-masked killer, and Dirt is forced to confront his past.
Timothy John Schweitzer’s Detective Dirt is a confused film, one second an attempt at shock horror, the next a police procedural and, at almost all times, a laughable trainwreck. The effects work is so blatantly bad that it all seems like a bad joke which, if so, is in exceptionally poor taste.
I truly believe that the rubber penis they use in this film deserves a co-star credit, because the thing gets more screen time than most characters. The perma-erect monstrosity’s first appearance is shocking at first, but you see it so often that it eventually causes an exasperated “enough with the fake dick already” sentiment. The joke, if it is a joke, gets old fast.
Which is the main debate with this film: is it taking itself seriously, or is it all a goof? The effects-work would make you think it’s a goof, and the scene where the detective tries to pick up a severed penis with chop sticks seems to win the debate in that direction, but it’s a bleak joke. It’s offensively mean-spirited, and who exactly finds rape, murder and dismembered genitalia remotely entertaining? This isn’t a film that just depicts awful things, it revels in their existence, over and over again. There’s no mystery being solved here, the story is just an excuse to show a bunch of gross-out scenes, wrapping up with a stale twist.
It’s one thing if this is shock value wrapped around a quality story, but it often feels more like these horrible acts exist because they are the entertainment. The story itself takes a backseat to seeing how many different gross-out elements can be combined in one film. And this film packs in piss, s**t, cannibalism and more before it wraps up.
And I’m not against shock value or gross-out tactics; I’ve seen many a film that I’ve praised which were as audacious in their shock as they were gifted in story, but that’s the difference. I think, shock aside, this film is lazy in story. Thus, I didn’t find many redeeming aspects to the tale at all.
Actually, the one element of the film I did enjoy was the TV program “The Cat,” about a guy who fights crime while pretending to be a cat. That was pretty funny, if short-lived. But, hey, it’s something.
Overall, Detective Dirt is just a mean-spirited film that seems to think that it’s funny, or moving, or both. I do think there is a way to tell a story like this, and actually have some shock value that means something, but this film doesn’t know how to employ restraint to set up a better pay-off. You’re desensitized to its absurdity early, and then it’s just more of the same depraved ideas. By the time the twist hits, you stopped caring four rubber dicks ago.
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