×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Virus

An "electrical life form" generates low-voltage suspense in "Virus," a derivative sci-fi shocker that isn't likely to spark much interest beyond its target audience of undemanding genre fans. Theatrical prospects are dim, but ancillary action may be slightly brighter.

With:
Kit Foster - Jamie Lee Curtis Steve Baker - William Baldwin Captain Everton - Donald Sutherland Nadia - Joanna Pacula J.W. Woods Jr. - Marshall Bell Squeaky - Julio Oscar Mechoso Richie - Sherman Augustus Hiko - Cliff Curtis Colonel Kominski - Yuri Chervotkin Captain Lonya Rostov - Keith Flippen

An “electrical life form” generates low-voltage suspense in “Virus,” a derivative sci-fi shocker that isn’t likely to spark much interest beyond its target audience of undemanding genre fans. Theatrical prospects are dim, but ancillary action may be slightly brighter.

Much like its extraterrestrial antagonist, which uses human beings for spare parts while constructing biomechanical drones, “Virus” borrows plot elements and production designs from a dozen or so good, bad and indifferent pics. Oscar-winning special effects whiz John Bruno (“The Abyss”) tries to keep things moving faster than the speed of thought in his first directorial effort. But neither he nor his actors can transcend the pre-fab screenplay by Chuck Pfarrer and Dennis Feldman.

Based on a Dark Horse Comics series created by Pfarrer, “Virus” begins with the invasion of the MIR space station by a marauding mass of crackling blue energy. After that, the mass beams down to a Russian science ship in the South Pacific. Nothing good comes of this.

Meanwhile, in another part of the ocean, a salvage tug is badly damaged during a raging typhoon. Thanks to plucky navigator Kit Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) — and despite the worst efforts of the hard-drinking Captain Everton (Donald Sutherland) — the crew manages to steer the crippled vessel into the eye of the storm. One thing leads to another, the tug crew boards a seemingly deserted Russian ship, and the body count starts to mount.

Nadia (Joanna Pacula), the last survivor aboard the Russian ship, tries to warn the newcomers about the murderous intent of the electrical mass. Not surprisingly, Captain Everton and most of his crew are slow to believe her.

But then the biomechanical drones begin to appear. And the electric mass reveals itself as a sentient entity that wants to eradicate the human “virus” on board.

Curtis and Pacula are thoroughly convincing in thinly written roles. The same can be said of William Baldwin as a hunky engineer and Sherman Augustus as the tough-talking crewman. But Sutherland is ferociously hammy as he struggles with a vaguely Irish accent.

The special effects are passably persuasive in scenes that involve biomechanical creatures. But the use of a scale model is painfully apparent when the ship is supposed to be tossed by the typhoon. Other tech credits are adequate.

Virus

Production: A Universal Pictures release of a Mutual Film Co. presentation of a Dark Horse Entertainment/Valhalla Motion Pictures production. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd. Executive producers, Mike Richardson, Chuck Pfarrer, Gary Levinsohn, Mark Gordon. Co-producers, Todd Moyer, Dennis E. Jones, Bud Smith. Directed by John Bruno. Screenplay, Chuck Pfarrer, Dennis Feldman, based on the Dark Horse Comics series created by Pfarrer.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), David Eggby; editor, Scott Smith; music, Joel McNeely; production designer, Mayling Cheng; art directors, Donald B. Woodruff, Jay Hinkle, Robert J. Quinn; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Jay Meagher; robotics effects designers, Steve Johnson, Eric Allard; special effects supervisor, Chuck Gaspar; assistant director, Carla Brand Breitner; second unit director, Bud Smith. Reviewed at Cinemark Tinseltown USA 290 Theater, Houston, Texas, Jan. 15, 1999. MPAA rating: R. Running time: 100 MIN.

With: Kit Foster - Jamie Lee Curtis Steve Baker - William Baldwin Captain Everton - Donald Sutherland Nadia - Joanna Pacula J.W. Woods Jr. - Marshall Bell Squeaky - Julio Oscar Mechoso Richie - Sherman Augustus Hiko - Cliff Curtis Colonel Kominski - Yuri Chervotkin Captain Lonya Rostov - Keith Flippen

More Film

  • Young Ahmed

    Cannes Film Review: 'Young Ahmed'

    There’s a darkness to “Young Ahmed” that audiences have never seen before in the work of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the gifted Belgian brothers whose profoundly humane, unapologetically realist dramas have twice earned them the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Like surrogate parents to troubled children, the sibling directors have taken on their share of difficult [...]

  • Radegund

    Cannes: Fox Searchlight Nabs Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    Fox Searchlight has picked up rights for U.S. and several international territories on Terrence Malick’s contemplative World War II drama “A Hidden Life,” following its enthusiastic reception at the Cannes Film Festival. “A Hidden Life” tells the true story of the Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter, who rejected Adolf Hitler and objected to the war. He [...]

  • China's Zhou Dongyu Is Focusing on

    China's Zhou Dongyu Plans to Focus on Acting, Says Female Roles Improving

    China’s Zhou Dongyu may have taken a recent turn as a producer, but the 27-year-old actress plans to focus on honing her craft in front of the camera rather than branching out too much into other roles behind it. She also believes that female roles are increasing in quantity and quality in China, and is [...]

  • German Films Cocktail Cannes 2019 CannesMay

    Cannes: German Films Celebrates Festival Films at Villa Rothschild

    Pictured: Peter Herrmann, chairman of German Films, Michael Weber of The Match Factory, and Simone Baumann, managing director of German Films. Simone Baumann, the managing director of German Films, celebrated the many German co-productions screening in the Cannes Film Festival at the promotional agency’s cocktail party Saturday at Villa Rothschild in Cannes. “Germany is one [...]

  • Steven Gaydos, Jacob Weydemann, Katriel Schory,

    Variety Celebrates 10 Producers to Watch in Cannes

    CANNES–Variety honored its 10 Producers to Watch for 2019 at a brunch on Monday morning at Cannes’ Plage des Palmes. Launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the annual event fetes 10 producers from the U.S. and the international film community who share a common commitment to bold, original, provocative storytelling. The films produced by [...]

  • Kathy Griffin photographed at the Variety

    Kathy Griffin Movie 'A Hell of a Story' Gets Theatrical Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story,” a documentary comedy from the star comedian, has sold to Brainstorm Media for a special theatrical release this summer, Variety has learned. The movie will play in U.S. theaters on July 31, for a one-night special event. Fathom Events is a partner on the deal, and Griffin will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content