Bacterium (2006)

DVD Cover (Shock-O-Rama Cinema)
Brett Piper Brett Piper
Alison Whitney Alison Whitney
Benjamin Kanes Benjamin Kanes
Miya Sagara Miya Sagara
Andrew Kranz Andrew Kranz
Panhead Fred Bauer Panhead Fred Bauer

4.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Creature Film, Horror, Sci-Fi Horror, Science Fiction
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Review by Chad
Added: October 08, 2007
Last year, Brett Piper gave us the extremely entertaining Shock-O-Rama, and personally, I loved it so much that I placed it in my top ten for the year. This year, he's back with Bacterium, a film that retains some of the key elements that made the aforementioned Shock-O-Rama so much fun, but does it live up to the standards that he set with his previous release? Not quite, but that certainly doesn't imply that it was a horrible film either.

The storyline begins with three people - Beth (Alison Whitney), Jiggs (Benjamin Kanes), and Brook (Miya Sagara) - tromping about in the woods and playing a friendly game of paintball. Well, there's technically four people, but I missed the name of the fourth guy and he wasn't very important anyway, so it's not a huge deal. Anyway, this trio eventually stumbles upon an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere, and being the sporting types that they are, they decide to incorporate it into their game. Big mistake.

You see, a scientist has been using this house as his laboratory, and what has he been working on? If the title didn't give it away, it's a new strain of bacteria that will eventually be used for biological warfare. That's fine and all, but this bacteria has started to mutate, and by that, I don't mean that it's simply turning into a different kind of microscopic organism. No sir, this is a Brett Piper film: this bacteria mutates into a huge blob of slithering disease that is dead set on infecting and eating everyone in the house. To make matters just a little more difficult for all involved, the government has caught wind of the situation and has a horde of soldiers surrounding the house in an attempt to prevent anyone from escaping. All of this, and all these kids wanted was a fun game of paintball.

One thing that really caught me off guard when I slid this release into my DVD player was the rating - a whopping PG-13? From Shock-O-Rama? I was thoroughly surprised to say the very least, but it actually turned out to push the boundaries of this low rating; there's more than a quick glance at some female full frontal nudity, a peek at AJ Khan's ass, and of course, plenty of blood and guts. It's not a gorefest and nor is there a T&A display in every other scene, but it still pushes that rating hard - how this managed to escape the ratings board with this rating, I'll never know.

Anyway, to get back to the real subject at hand, Bacterium is simply a fun monster movie that reminded me more than a little of the fifties sci-fi monster flicks that sold out theaters across the country back in the day. You've got the stupid kids, the seemingly-unstoppable monster, the government officials who value an untarnished image over the safety of the general public, soldiers with huge guns... hell, there's even a motorcycle gang in here to give it that extra little dash of fifties nostalgia.

It's all done with the signature Brett Piper style of movie-making, which consists of some surprisingly good CGI effects (for the most part, anyway) combined with what would appear to be miniatures in a few spots (these particular scenes were done so well that I honestly couldn't tell, but I suspect that they were). I've said it before, and this film does nothing to change my mind: I doubt that Piper will ever make a film that rivals the effects of Transformers, but when it comes to the low-budget monster movies that he's most known for, he's certainly a cut above ninety-five percent of the other filmmakers out there doing similar work. He's also one of the few guys working today who simply wants to make fun horror movies instead of snuff-like splatterfests, remakes, and pointless sequels. Coincidence? I think not.

Bacterium is not a perfect film, as even though it only runs for eighty minutes, there are still a few scenes that seem tacked on merely to pad out the running time. The acting is... hey, did I mention that there's some neat effects, including a shot of the monster snatching a helicopter out of the sky? I wasn't trying to call attention away from that acting thing, but really, that was a neat shot. Regardless of a couple minor flaws, Bacterium is still a fun movie, and it's also one that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to fans of Piper's earlier work or monster movies in general. 8/10.
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