Architect Frank Lamm (Thomas Niehaus) wakes from an erotic fantasy about a stripper in a hard-hat to find he’s padlocked into a knocked-over portaloo, his arm is impaled on a rebar, and on a site due to be demolished by explosive charges in a half an hour or so. His phone has literally tumbled into the crapper and he can hear amplified oompah-music and the obnoxious patter of obviously untrustworthy and politically ambitious developer Horst (Gedeon Burkhard) as seconds tick away towards the moment of doom. Not only does he have to come up with improvised methods of escape or summoning help with whatever items come to hand – an extensible measuring stick, a sachet of cocaine, a pick-axe, hand sanitiser, toilet roll – but he is sorting through his jumbled memories of how he got in this pickle and the issues he has with his girlfriend Marie (Olga von Luckwald) and his shifty Nigel Farage lookalike boss.
Another riff on the trapped-for-a-whole film drama, evoking 127 Hours, Stalled, Buried and others – but writer-director Lukas Rinker holds back on the serious suspense (the gruesome business is exaggerated) in favour of a Sam Raimi-like pile-up on the hapless Frank, who is splendidly underplayed (in the circumstances) by Niehaus. A definition of three-act structure is Act One – you get stuck up a tree … Act Two – you get stuck further up a tree … Act Three – you get down from the tree. On that system Holy Shit! is 98% Act Two, with every opportunity for rescue turning out to make things worse … and a straggle of rather overly caricatured intruders (plus a significant owlet) prolonging the agony and suffering their own splattery demises.
Part of the deal, of course, is that we’re always inside the portaloo with Frank – which means any views of the outside are through holes punched in the walls or the door that has to be nudged open with the measuring stick (that at least means the film features a fly-by from a plane trailing a ‘vote Horst’ banner). An evil Happy Face toilet seat provides a nasty argument with the protagonist’s striving inner monologue. I think this strings its situation out a beat or so too long for its own good, but it’s still an effective exercise in piling on the agony.