Mom and I rented this movie last weekend expecting it to be so terrible we’d have to give up on it. For one thing, the DVD box’s graphics made it look like a bloody horror flick — not Mom’s thing — and for another, it was only 85 minutes long, thus violating our B-Movie Law of 90, a law we developed after years and years of careful experimentation which states that B-movies tend to become exponentially less good-bad and more bad-bad for every minute under 90 they are in length. At 85, therefore, we knew this one had a five-times-greater likelihood of being utter bollocks.
BUT, the title and description intrigued us enough to want to give it a shot — we’re suckers for movies about deadly viruses, you see. Sometimes when we take a risk like this, we don’t last ten minutes. Other times, though, we end up having a ball.
And hey, if you’re not living on the good-bad movie edge, you’re taking up too much space, right? Um, or something.
Happily, Virus X, though flawed, turned out to be a BALL kind of movie, not a BOLLOCKS one. Oh, frabjous day!
It’s about a team of scientists in a lab hidden away in an industrial building somewhere, working, or so they think, on a cure for H1N1 (swine flu). As part of their plan to eradicate the disease completely, they’ve begun genetically altering the virus, developing vaccines for each new strain they create.
Things seem to be going well until the day the scientists are all sitting around eating lunch (in the near-dark, by the way — after spending all their funding on equipment, they apparently did not have enough money over for lamps. I would imagine this might make science rather tricky, though it never seems to stop CSI:NY), when a young woman with a needle sticking out of her arm bursts in, followed quickly by a weird-looking dude dressed in head-to-toe black leather and equipped with a very large handgun. Which he promptly uses to shoot the girl in the head, her blood spattering all over the scientists sitting, agape, right behind her.
Weird Dude in Black turns and leaves just as the lab’s exposure alarm goes off, locking all the doors and sealing the gang in. They’ve been contained. Quarantined. And it doesn’t take long for Malcolm to figure out why: they’ve all been exposed to the newest strain of H1N1 he’d discovered, a particularly aggressive and thus-far incurable strain called “H1N1 X.”
Now, here’s where it gets a little silly(er). They’re a group of scientists specializing in H1N1 vaccines, so you’d think their next move would be to get to work on a cure for themselves, right? But no, instead, they mostly just yell a lot and start making out with each other. Which, granted, is probably what I’d do myself if I knew I only had three days to live. But then, I am not a virologist. I think this movie would’ve been far more interesting had they started making love to SCIENCE instead of to each other, but, you know, que sera, etc.
In between ranting and smooching, however, the group slowly begins to discover the truth about their work. Dr. Gravamen, it turns out, has been hired by a nasty old biddy who wants him to create the perfect deadly bug so that she can wait for panic to break out, and then release a vaccine, raking in gazillions of dollars from the terrified masses. The young woman was a prostitute — one of several victims kidnapped by Weird Dude in Black to serve as test subjects for Nasty Old Biddy’s killer bug. When the team of scientists were infected, Nasty Old Biddy told Gravamen to let them die — six test subjects for the price of one! But what she and Weird Dude in Black didn’t count on was Gravamen having a conscience. Can he help the team before it’s too late? And stop Nasty Old Lady’s nefarious plan? And possibly, for kicks, blow Weird Dude in Black’s creepy head off?
Don’t you wish you knew?!
Definitely a lot more fun than the box makes it look, and well worth a rental for fans of the good-bad deadly virus flick genre. (Which, granted, is probably is a fan club consisting of about three members: me, Mom, and the mother of whoever wrote the screenplay for Virus X, who will watch it just to support her son, cringing all the while. But still. Not bad for 99 cents, is what I’m saying.)
Genre: Science Fiction, Deadly Virus
Cast: Jai Day, Domiziano Arcangeli, Joe Zaso, Dylan Vox, Sybil Danning, Sasha Formoso