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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 08.12.11] movie review apocalyptic horror

Year: 2011
Directors: Kenneth Cran
Writers: Kenneth Cran
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 6 out of 10

The ethos of new company No CGI Films is something I can really get behind. Not that I don't like computer generated images, or digital FX or anything. I just get a total nerdgasm from seeing amazing practical work on the screen - particularly when it's pushed to a point that the movie starts to look like a bizarro version of earth (Evil Dead gets there for example).

So if you're like me and you dig on old Corman creature features (warts and all), you'll be happy to know that there are enough cool, geeky old-school filmmaker tricks in Millennium Bug to make you drool. We're talking insane miniature work, a ton of forced perspective and buckets of liquid blood to go along with all the prosthetic make-up work. For their first big (read: small) release, NO CGI Films have certainly given us an adventurous look into the kind of crazy shit they want to bring us.

Millenium Bug is basically hillbilly horror meets creature feature. It's Christmas, 1999. A family travels to the mountains to escape what they believe could be the apocalyptic breakdown of society following the inevitable Y2K meltdown. Unfortunately their peaceful family weekend is ruined by a family of inbred hill people looking for fresh women to breed with.

Cut to Dr. Roger Patterson who is wandering the mountains in search of something. Something big. Something that only emerges every millennium. You guessed it. The Millennium bug!

Merging the two genres was a smart move on Cran's part because the bug story on its own probably wouldn't have filled 110 pages of script. And the first half's human versus human survival horror keeps us entertained with wild characters and a plethora of gore gags while we wait for the 50 foot tall creature to emerge and reek havoc.

That being said, I found Cran's tribe of deformed hillbilly maniacs a little too zany and articulate when I wanted them to be truly menacing. Go back and look at Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even Wrong Turn and you'll notice that those inbred maniac families don't say much and they certainly don't give motivation for their actions. They're just pure f'ed-up animal evil. Some might argue that Cran was going for a combination of humour and horror. I think that's true, but I didn't find there were many genuine laughs. Just a lot of hootin' and hollering from the deformed weirdos.

I must say though that there's one scene in the film that works extremely well and genuinely creeped the shit out of me. It's when the husband gets thrown down into a cellar where a character called Orpheus lives. The way the creature emerges is, hidden in shadow is pure horror magic. Very commendable.

In the last act we switch gears radically and the film becomes probably the coolest low budget creature feature ever made. Not because of how amazing the creature looks (which it does) or how scary the film becomes, but because of just how original it all is. And how much passion has clearly gone into it. The miniature sets, the forced perspective and the actors all sell the wild stuff going on.

Millennium Bug is made for a very specific kind of cult movie fan. The kind that likes the worm rape scene in Corman's Galaxy of Terror. The kind who loves to see the edges of the process. Who doesn't need everything to be slick. The kind that likes a lot of slime to ooze and blood to flow. The films is flawed but it's really fun and I hope Millennium Bug finds its audience because I know it's out there.

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