Sausage Party

While Sausage Party looks like a comedy, and is marketed as a comedy, it is not. It is a disturbing psychological horror film that serves a double purpose as a well crafted and engrossing nihilist manifesto. My biggest fear before walking into this movie was that I’d be in for a full length feature film with only one real gag. That being the idea that talking object/food/animal cartoons are actually kind of horrible if you really think about them.

Any cheap production could have used that premise to live and die on whether or not they could keep the same gag funny for longer than the trailer that communicated it fine to everyone. But, they didn’t do that. They took that premise and extended it to its full logical conclusion as a metaphor for humanity, citing everything as meaningless, the search for morality empty and pointless in the face of the infinite horror of the nothingness after death, and culminating in an orgy of chaos and destruction.

Lots of people may miss this because the film tells so many jokes along the way (whether you find them funny or not). They’ll walk away only consciously aware of the crass jokes and the crude plot blended with the stoner tone, and they’ll either enjoy or hate the movie based on how much they enjoy sexual euphemisms for the full run time of a movie, or how well they can tolerate the most grotesque profanity. A lot of people will like or hate the movie based on the ideas. They’re pretty straightforward and the movie really does everything it can to shout the metaphor out loud: We’re mortal and our lives are short and full of terrifying danger, the things we think of as God are horrifying and predatory, there is no real God, and no afterlife, and this is definitively knowable.

The film pulls this off so much better than its comedy, which is pretty one note. It’s horrifying to anyone who believes in a structured and logical universe, but it is saying something and I personally believe that is worth a lot of merit. So much of our art doesn’t even try to say anything to us. The ultimate goal to pander to whatever we want to hear in order to part with just a few dollars for entertainment. Moreover, the movie says what it wants to really well for the most part. Leading up to the climax of the film it plays out perfectly, meticulously laying out the horror of existence in a hostile universe.

Even the crass humor and language serves a double purpose as deliberately emphasizing at every single moment that our behavior is meaningless and as a celebration of the meaninglessness of behavior and language. Sausage Party feels like it pulls back from the brink right at the peak of the climax as if to yell out, “Just kidding!” The reality, though, is that this is just a brief pause to catch your breath before the real anarchy and destruction begin. A celebration of tearing down all of the structures that formed the belief system of humanity.

If you can’t handle the first 30 minutes of the film, get out of the theater, because they take out all of the stops for the last 30. The movie peaks and ends with a pornographic indulgence in anarchist destruction and indulgence in violence, sex, drugs, and profanity. Even when it appears to soften the blow and turn away from the dark shadow of mortality and inescapable omnipresent specter of death (consciously in the foreground, this is never truly abandoned, just tonally ignored to wrap up the film on a note that feels positive) the movie screams that destruction is all there is, and to embrace it.

This was an uncomfortable film to watch, and it didn’t appeal to my personal sense of humor. I think most people will find a good deal of this pretty unpleasant if not outright distasteful, but I have to say that it is a good film. It’s well made, and consistent, thoroughly exploring its ideas and acting with an internal persistence of philosophical vision all the way to the end. I’d recommend it to people with a really base sense of humor or to athiests, nihilists, horror fans, or people who simply enjoy a movie that makes them think and gives them something to talk about.

If none of those things sound even remotely like you, avoid this film like the plague.

Final Verdict:Perfect for fans of stoner comedies and crass humor, and an out of the park success for nihilists that will leave anyone else regretting having seen it.
Rating:D+