A doggedly retro, nano-budget sci-fi trifle.

Definitely not to be confused with “9,” the high-end, high-tech Tim Burton-produced animated feature preeming Sept. 9, 2009, “9.9.09” is a doggedly retro, nano-budget sci-fi trifle. The film evokes a host of impressive 1950s forebears such as “It Came From Outer Space” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” with an obligatory nod to 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead,” as extraterrestrial body-burrowing tapeworms infect small-town denizens. Barely coherent but not quite cheesy enough to qualify as camp (though the godawful f/x are guaranteed to drop jaws), pic may coast on titular confusion but won’t get far beyond DVD or tube play.

Helmer Howard Wexler and producer-scripter-star Bryan Brewer wisely invest more in credibly thesped human interaction than in the story’s otherworldly goings-on, which are poorly executed. The infestation of pink, badly matted-in creepy-crawlies coincides with an ex-con’s (Brewer) return from prison, elevating him from pariah to savior. But the filmmakers fail to assign consistent meaning to the creatures’ effect on humans (some victims lurch and growl, others merely philosophize). Futuristic framing device blatantly telegraphs a game-changing sequel (think the finale of “Evil Dead II” without the tongue-in-cheek humor).

9.9.09

Production

A Cause Entertainment production. Produced by Bryan Brewer, Mark Brewer, Howard Wexler. Executive producer, Carol Landsburg. Directed by Howard Wexler. Screenplay, Bryan Brewer.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Cameron Cannon; editors, Don Adams, Harry J. Picardi; music, Javier Abad Corral; production designer, Robert E. Hummel; costume designer, Jordanna Fineberg. Reviewed on DVD, New York, July 31, 2009. (In New York Independent Film and Video Festival, Los Angeles.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Bryan Brewer, Lochlyn Munro, Kelly Pendygraft, Brian Guest, Chuck Carter, Mary Kate Schelhardt, David Jean Thomas.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more