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Featured TV on DVD Review: Virus X

January 26th, 2011

Virus X - Buy from Amazon

Virus X is the latest direct-to-DVD horror film sent to me by the fine folks at Lionsgate. Their track record at finding small films like this is better than most, but even the most hardcore fans of the genre will admit there are more misses than hits. Will this film buck the odds?

The Movie

As the film starts, we watch a man in the throws as a painful death. We quickly learn that we are not the only ones watching him, as his death is being observed by a scientist, Dr. Gravamen and the woman he works for, Danita Herrington. She informs him that his latest virus doesn't kill fast enough and they need something that will spread panic through the population. We are not immediately told why, but the profit motive is strongly hinted at.

We are then introduced to Dr. Gravamen's team, Francis, Kenny, Abby, Cori, and the newest scientist, Malcolm Burr, who was added to help speed up the research. Of course, they think they are there to find a vaccine ready to deal with the latest strain of the H1N1 virus, not weaponize it. Dr. Gravamen has explained their need to mutate the H1N1 virus into deadly strains, so they can anticipate what is coming next and have the vaccine before the outbreak begins. We also get hints about Malcolm's past, namely that he lost someone he loved to the H1N1 virus while working in South America, which is why he is so dedicated to finding a cure. Very quickly he discovers a strain of the virus, labeled X, that is so quick that he immediately warns Dr. Gravamen that they may have created something too dangerous to control. Little does he know that's exactly what they are supposed to do. Little does Dr. Gravamen know that before they can release it on the public to create the epidemic needed to spur sales, their "test subject" escapes their security measures and everyone in the building is in danger. Now they have to find a cure before their super-virus kills them.

So is this film an undiscovered gem? No, not really. It's a rather dreary ordeal. You would think a medical lab dealing with a deadly virus would be a lot more clinical, and less dark and dingy. Of course, it's that way in the movie in order to build mood and tension, but instead it just makes the film feel low budget. Additionally, while the level of gore is quite high (the virus has a very nasty effect on the human body) there are not a lot of scares. In fact, the film moves too slowly to really even build a lot of tension and we don't learn enough about most of the characters to care about them even when the film does get going.

It's not terrible, but it is very average.

The Extras

The DVD has interviews with the director and three of the cast members with Dawna Lee Heising of Eye on Entertainment.

The Verdict

Virus X is a movie that I would say is advertised as a horror film, but is more of a medical thriller about a group of scientists looking to find a cure for a contagious virus. The DVD isn't devoid of extras, but there's not enough here to lift it past a rental, and that's only if you are a fan of low-budget films.

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