Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall
Bell, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Sherman Augustus, Cliff Curtis
1999, 96 Minutes, Directed by: John Bruno
A tugboat crew whose composition is
Politically Correct (there's a Maori, a woman, a Canadian and one of the innumerable Baldwin brothers) comes across a deserted ship after surviving a tornado. Well, obviously the ship isn't completely deserted. There's one surviving crew member (Russian, woman) and an alien life form (electronic in nature, freshly downloaded from the Mir space station, sees humanity as a virus which must be eradicated - pretty much like the machines in
The Matrix did).
So cue politically correct crew being chased around in the darkened innards
of said ghost ship by a variety of robotic units that range from metal
spidery creatures (as seen in Runaway) to cyborg/humanoid
types (a mixture between Star Trek - First Contact's
the Borg and Robocop).
Also cue the usual clichés: those beams of flashlights that Spielberg
pioneered in movies like E.T. which
The X-Files later borrowed from heavily in the dark; a crewmember
who goes nuts like the Bill Paxton character in Aliens;
the characters shout at each other the whole time; the crewmembers getting
picked off one by one as they wander around aimlessly like all those witless
teenagers in the Friday the 13th movies. In the end
everything gets blown up real good with alien still aboard, like in Alien,
and with the woman crewmember surviving like in, er, Alien.
I spoil it for you? I'm sorry, but I thought that with Jamie Lee Curtis
being said crewmember this was pretty much a foregone conclusion - especially
since she's done this sort of thing in the original Halloween movie
. . .
There isn't an original bone in this movie's body. We've seen this countless
times and Virus adheres rigidly and brainlessly to the whole formula.
There are no surprises and nothing redemptive in the movie at all: no
one-liners, no topless shower scenes featuring Jamie Lee Curtis (or Joanna Pacula, a better bet actually), no sense of irony or fun, no excitement,
no likeable characters, or anything! Nothing! The robotic special effects
are okay and that's it.
Why tell a tale - especially so unimaginatively - which has been told
so many times? Avarice? Obviously, but in the same week I saw Virus
I also Ravenous, a black-humored horror movie about cannibalism
that unfortunately also sank at the box office without a trace. However,
unlike Virus, Ravenous despite its faults at least tried
to do something original and mostly succeeded at it. If you believe that
the horror movie genre has more to offer than Alien clones then
I'd recommend that you watch Ravenous instead.
A friend of mine summed up Virus in one word: rip-off. However,
the problem isn't that it is a rip-off, the problem is that it is a dull
rip-off . . .