Thursday, July 2, 2009


Stop the presses! We have a movie from the Sci-Fi Channel that didn’t suck. While I didn’t think Organizm (also known as Living Hell) re-invented the genre, or will replace Citizen Kane on the best movies lists, it was a competent little low-budget sci-fi horror movie.

The movie starts in 1958, where a small boy watches his Mom freak out. She very much wants him to remember “Vault 12, Level 3”. She is obviously concerned the kid has memory retention problems, because she cuts the info into the palms of his hands with a knife. Yikes. I would have gone with flash cards, but that is pretty effective. Just to make the day a little more memorable, Mom then shoots the dad to death, before committing suicide herself, all with the kid watching. This could lead to problems down the road, psychologically speaking, although I’m no professional at that stuff.

Jump forward to the more-or-less present. The kid is now a grown-up Frank Sears (genre favorite Johnathon Schaech, Quarantine, the Prom Night remake), but he hasn’t forgotten what his Mom told him, thanks to the extensive scarring. When he hears the military base his Mom worked at is due for demolition, he drives across the country to warn the authorities about Vault 12. There, Colonel Maitland (James McDaniel, NYPD Blue) is in charge of de-commissioning the base so it can be turned over to the local Indian tribe. If there’s anything we know, it is when the government gives anything to the Indians, there will be a catch. The decontamination team is led by a soldier of indeterminate rank, Carrie Freeborn (Erica Leerhsen, Blair Witch Project 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake)

Sears tries to get into the base, gets arrested, and tells Maitland about Vault 12. Although the vault has been searched and found empty, Maitland orders a second search, which discovers a secret room with an ominous tank in it. Freeborn wants to follow protocol in dealing with the tank, but Maitland say screw it, just open the thing, what could be the harm? This will turn out to be a mistake.

They open the tank, and in due course, most of the base is dead due to some fast-growing tentacles that snake out, covering everything and killing everyone they touch. Apparently our biological warfare folks back in the 50s were aces. Pretty soon, the town has been overrun by the tentacles, and the world is next. It’s up to Freeborn and Sears to find a way to stop the monster, as all the other military personnel are morons.

The movie has its flaws. Some of the special effects shots are pretty terrible, but I’m sure they did what they could with the budget they had. The story is fairly predictable and familiar, but is still fun. The script is reasonably tight, the story is told in a coherent fashion, and I thought the cast was good. Not a Best Picture nominee by any means, but if you are looking for a Sci-Fi Channel Original that is several cuts above their usual fare, I think this is it.


Jim Mcleod said...

Do you really mean this or are you trying to trick me into watching it

KentAllard said...

I thought it was a decent little flick. Reasonably entertaining.