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Virus X

Not-terrible disease film is not memorable, either

Rod Lott March 7th, 2011

Not to say that Stephen King’s “The Stand” won’t one day make the leap from fiction to fact, but I recall with some amusement the public’s total freak-out in 2009 over H1N1, convinced it was the end of the world as we know it.


But we feel fine, and we’re already the point where we can make a movie about it, and no one even blinks.

The film in question is “Virus X,” one of the coolest-sounding titles you’ll encounter all year, even if the product isn’t exactly memorable.

The not-terrible thriller takes place inside perhaps the dingiest lab the screen has seen, compared to the sterile, stark white of “Outbreak” and its ilk. The place is attempting to synthesize a vaccine for H1N1, and its new hire is superstar cell doc Malcolm Burr (Jai Day), a 29-year-old hotshot with field experience in South America.

How far will his brilliance and know-how get them when he and his peers become part of the experiment? Under the demands of the lab’s financier (Sybil Danning, still smokin’), humans are used as unwilling test subjects of an aggressive, fast-acting, highly mutated strain that turns them into quasi-zombies. Burr and his labmates find themselves locked inside and observed via surveillance cameras. I’m not sure quite what to make of the creepy, hall-haunting killer character of Jerron (producer Domiziano Arcangeli), an androgynous albino seemingly imported from another film entirely.

This kind of one-locale scenario is a decent idea for a low-budget effort, if only debuting director Ryan Stevens Harris could pull it off. Despite an admirable try, amateurish acting and a half-simmering script do it in.

Lionsgate’s DVD sports a special feature so strange, I doubt it’ll be topped in all of 2011: interviews with cast and crew by one Dawna Lee Heising, from her own interview show, “Eye on Entertainment.” An actress herself (but by no means a skilled broadcast journalist), the poor woman looks like she’s had too many plastic surgeries for comfort. With the trout pout and a Barbie-doll bod, it’s no wonder she’s been cast three times in her career as “Prostitute,” according to IMDb (and, to be fair, once as “Village Sorceress” and another as “Cleo the Snake Dancer”). All her interviews take place before a “Virus X” screening for distributors and buyers; for the occasion, Harris has chosen to dress up in fingerless gloves. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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06.01.2011 at 11:09 Reply

I liked the Film: loved the innovative hand held camera's work,rich photography and thick exploitation: Why not! It was like a Guilty Pleasure,much better than some bigger,more boring Lionsgate's releases! Here everything came together at the end and i was biting my nails, when facing some of the Highly Gory Scenes.Sybil Danning still rocks,perfect evil bitch,looks great,despite what other people had said.And Cult Star Domiziano Arcangeli shows he can do anything he wants with his looks and eyes..I mean,watch him on Samurai Avenger:The Blind Wolf,or Orgy of Blood,and more.. He's a different person in every film(isn't that what real acting truly means?) and he's done over 100! haha I like him,he's got guts,he's not afraid to Play with his looks or give a Twist to a role that otherwise could have been a cliche'.

That's my take! ;) And ain't easy to Please!