“Holy Shit!” – An Absurd Survival Thriller Set in a Porta-Potty” [Review]

Normally it’s difficult to keep an audience engaged for 90 minutes using (mostly) a single character in a single location.  That said, isolation/survival thrillers like Buried, Phone Booth, The Shallows, and others do a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat while you root for the protagonist to get out of the desperate situation they’re in.

Screambox’s latest exclusive film Holy Shit! (yes that’s the actual title) takes the tropes of a typical survival thriller and turns the absurdity up to 11.  Not everything about it works, but Holy Shit! definitely lives up to its over the top title!

Stuck in Shit
The film begins with Frank Lamm (Thomas Niehaus) who has woken up inside a filthy porta potty that’s been knocked over, and a steel beam impaled through his arm.  As he begins to get his bearings, he remembers how he wound up here.  Between his flashbacks, we see the sequence of events that led to this, and begin to realize that this was the result of nefarious foul play.

HS 3
The one thing the movie can’t convey on screen is the smell…

For the next 90 minutes, we watch Frank desperately try to get a signal on his phone to call for help, try to diffuse the explosives about to demolish the building he’s next to, and try to remember how and why he wound up in this desperate situation.

Overall, the film does a decent job of keeping you engaged and interested, although it does tend to drag in two distinct places: the midpoint of the movie and the last 10-15 minutes.  As you’re watching it, you realize that this premise might have worked better as a 45 minute short film.  And the final act definitely tries to subvert your expectations, but it does it so many times that you kind of just are anxious for the movie to finally end.

Over the Top Shit
But let’s be honest, no one is actually watching this movie for its riveting story or culturally relevant themes.  Granted, the whole reason Frank is stuck there is due to a subplot with not so subtle environmental messages, but that’s not really the point of the movie.  The point of Holy Shit! was to be as sensationalizing as the title and it sort of succeeds in that.

HS 1
He hallucinates quite a bit while in there, most likely due to the blood loss.

The whole time that Frank is stuck in there, a smiley face on the toilet seat repeatedly mocks him in sarcastic fashion.  This, along with more than one reference to Spongebob, lets you know that this is a movie that really knows what it is and what it’s trying to do.

Perhaps no one exemplified this better than Gedeon Burkhard, who plays Horst, the film’s villain.  Burkhard definitely understood the assignment with his hilariously ridiculous portrayal of a desperate man who keeps digging himself into deeper and deeper shit (pun very intended) to get out of an issue that pales in comparison to everything he’s done.

HS 2
American audiences will recognize Gedeon Burkhard best as “Wicki”, one of the German-speaking members of the Bastards in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Our lead Thomas Niehaus does a great job, but he almost takes things too seriously sometimes.  Whereas Burkhard goes full Looney Tunes and it’s without a doubt the most entertaining thing about the movie.

If you’re looking for something deep or philosophical, Holy Shit! is not the movie for you.  But if you have 90 minutes to kill and are looking for something just goofy enough to make you laugh, then it’s worth a watch, streaming exclusively on Screambox!

What did you think of Holy Shit!?  What are some of your favorite survival thrillers? Let us know in the comments!

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