As far back as 1974 Gloria Swanson turned up in the hokey vidpic “Killer Bees” and since then no one’s come up with a way to stop them — vidpix about killer bees, that is. Latest sitting ducks are Robert Hays and Nancy Stafford as an agreeable couple settled into “Blossom Meadow” to grow apples; latest epic’s even sillier than the first one, which at least boasted Swanson. There’s not much of a scare in “Deadly Invasion,” no matter how many bees and their electronic stand-ins zoom across the screen.
Chad and Karen Ingram and their three kids live in a lovely Victorian house in the middle of their orchard. Viewers know killer bees are on the way because a prologue is flashed on the screen to orient them and to make them nervous. After all, this “could be a true story,” as the legend reads.
At first meeting, Chad and Karen are charmers. Karen has her own business, and Chad’s a lawyer bent on writing a book and growing apples. City folk. Tracy (Gina Philips) is the oldest of the three children, but not the brightest.
A couple of teenagers honk a horn near the hive of newly arrived killer bees, and the kids pay for it. An odd localite (Dennis Christopher) spouts off the dangers of bees so some of the townspeople and viewers can get jittery, and the bees infest a wedding reception.
The characters are so dumb they don’t leave tout suite after the local bee expert himself (Michael A. Nickles) says it’s time to shake Blossom Meadow.
It’s a given that there will be a confrontation between the Ingrams and the bees, but director Rockne S. O’Bannon and the visual effects team supervised by Tim Landry don’t rouse much suspense — or credibility — out of the siege.
O’Bannon prods the tired vidpic through its paces. Acting’s not much, and special effects, camerawork and editing are routine.
At one point in the teleplay it’s pointed out that bees just want to be left alone; telefilmmakers should take note.