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Askew Review 15

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BACTERIUM (Shock-O-Rama) Horror/Sci-Fi. 80 Min’s. PG-13. Language, nudity. Dr. Boskovic (Chuck McMahon) is holed up in a secret lab. He is nervous, suffering from frequent nightmares, and torn asunder attempting to destroy, or, at the very least, counter-act the effects of a clandestine government biological weapon currently in stasis. His local is a run-down, back-woods house lost in the middle of nowhere. Surrounding the shack is a battalion of government-hired soldiers bent on destroying the scientist but, at all costs, recovering the contagion. And against the backdrop are four hapless adults out for a little paint ball game who fall victim to one of the most surprising occurrences of their young lives.
  Beth (Allison Whitney) tags her opposing-team member, Jiggs (Benjamin Kanes) with her paint and they tumble to the ground, an obvious lovers tryst throughout though neither is dating the other. In fact, each one’s respective significant other is still out in the woods. Beth and Jiggs run across soldiers patrolling the dilapidated shack and decide, rather ignorantly, to check it out. Once inside, Beth is apprehended by a mysterious man in HAZMAT gear and made to strip naked. Surprising is the full frontal nudity on display by Allison Whitney, not bad, but uncharacteristic for a PG-13 film for sure. Jiggs is left unconscious and eventually discovered by his girlfriend, Brook (Miya Sagara).
  Beth escapes, steals a gun from the now-known scientist, Dr. Boskovic, and they strap him to a chair with what must be an entire roll of duct tape. Soon, the contained bacterium escapes its confines and engulfs the poor doctor. The government, just miles away at yet another abandoned hovel, sends a team to investigate the imminent disaster, and soon after both team members become fodder for the mutating bio-weapon. The multiplying beast escapes the lab and begins searching for a way out.
  Back at the Pentagon, it is up to a single Physicist to convince the government to release a ‘Black Hole Bomb’ that will not only contain the threat, but also, potentially, wipe out every existing organism within a twenty-mile radius. Even so, they give the go ahead, and so it goes.
  Surprisingly wonderful effects abound in this low-budget thriller. The bacterium looks like a combination between animated innards, slithering boogers, and The Blob. They are obviously CGI in many parts, but this does nothing to take away from the realism portrayed by the suffering humans. Yes, as a whole, the acting was pretty hackneyed and less than amazing, especially the government… they were about as realistic as our actual Senate. But, you do get that nagging feeling that something is happening that could, potentially, occur here and now: rather good poignancy. The additional disc features were pretty cool. I liked the making-of featurette the most as it goes into a bit of detail on the monster. All in all, a pretty cool little flick with some nice sci-fi moments. Check it out. -Stew Miller




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