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The tagline on Lionsgate’s DVD of VIRUS X reads, “The Threat Is Real.” If this refers to the threat of narcolepsy during the lackluster snoozefest encased within it, then the warning is a valid one. Despite watching the flick at 10 in the morning, I found myself being lulled to sleep by the numerous pockets of inactivity; it seems to take forever for the inevitable outbreak to occur. Once it does, there is a lot of crying and a lot of yelling.
Doctor Malcolm Burr (Jai Day) wants to save the world. An expert on H1N1 (or swine flu), he begins working in a research facility specializing in finding a vaccine for the deadly virus, run by Dr. Gravamen (BARRICADE’s Joe Zaso). But it quickly becomes clear that Gravamen’s intentions are not entirely noble. He has been contracted by the wealthy Danita Herrington (B-movie queen Sybil Danning) to concoct a superstrain of the virus—one that only she has the antidote for. But plans go awry when Burr and his fellow scientists become exposed to the hypervirus, and all hell breaks loose.
It’s the intensity of many of the performances that makes this film amusing, however unintentionally. The lumbering henchman Jerron (Domiziano Arcangeli, also the executive producer) is absolutely ridiculous. In a movie that seems to take itself as seriously as this one, his character, not just his performance, seems incredibly out of place. While overacting abounds in this flick, his is the only turn that feels entirely false, even ludicrous at times. He wins the award for most “WTF?” moments in VIRUS X, although his act is not the only one to warrant such a reaction; many of the cast’s responses seem wrong.
Despite it’s many flaws, the film’s rich blue tones give off the perfect feeling of sterility in the disc’s 1.78:1 transfer, while the grittier scenes take on a more sepia hue. The film seems to have had a sufficient budget for the material and, most impressively, there is no skimping on the gore—once it finally happens. It’s obvious that given better material, first-time director/co-writer Ryan Stevens Harris and co. might have faired better.
One place that’s skimped on where the DVD’s concerned, however, is the special features—the slim offerings consisting only of a handful of trailers and interviews with the director and cast. Apparently the film was featured on a program called EYE ON ENTERTAINMENT, hosted by Dawna Lee Heising, and it is clips from that show that we find here. Harris, Arcangeli, Danning and actor Dylan (THE LAIR) Vox are all featured, and if you can get past Heising’s airhead blonde persona, the interviews are quite good. Despite being only about five minutes apiece, they are thorough, and honestly make you wish VIRUS X was a better movie. Everyone is so enthusiastic, everyone praises one another, and the best part is that everyone seems completely sincere. It’s clear that this is a tight-knit group of people, many of whom will probably collaborate again in the future. I just hope that next time, all that enthusiasm renders a better product.
DVD/ Blu-ray Reviews
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