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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2011

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"Virus X" (DVD) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Virus X

Synopsis

A group of scientists work diligently in an underground lab to develop an antidote for the H1N1 virus which threatens the planet.  Unbeknownst to them, they are actually aiding in the evil plot of Danita Herrington (Danning) who plans to create a plague, and then make billions selling the antidote.  When an infected test subject gets loose in the lab, the facility is locked down trapping everyone inside.  They have three days to either cure themselves or destroy everything to prevent a horrendous outbreak.  Not only do they have to contend with each other, Herrington has sent in a mysterious assassin to kill them all before her plot is exposed.  The entire scenario plays out before dozens of security cameras, all monitored by Herrington and her lackey, Dr. Gravamen (Zaso).  The scientists start dropping like flies but you won’t know the outcome until the very end!

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 25 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Codec:  MPEG-2
  • 480i
  • English, Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Starring:  Jai Day, Domiziano Arcangeli, Joseph Zaso, Sasha Formoso, Dylan Vox, Sybil Danning
  • Directed by Ryan Stevens Harris
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Brief
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

This film was not quite the splatter-fest promised by the box art.  Rather than hack and slash, the gore is mainly a variety of substances that ooze from the characters mouths as they suffer and die.  I’ve seen far worse.  The plot makes for a good short story and the movie’s 85-minute length is appropriate.  It never drags and the action is constant until the finish.  Sybil Danning creates a character you love to hate as she lords over her diabolical experiments.  The other actors are unknowns but all turn in decent performances.  If you like dark gritty horror films, Virus X is for you.

Technical

The DVD image is of very high quality.  Detail and depth of contrast are better than even a few Blu-rays I’ve seen.  The entire movie takes place in a small lab complex lit by blue lights.  The color palette is pretty much limited to a monochromatic blue except for the scenes in Danita Herrington’s mansion.  Despite the extreme darkness, shadow detail is excellent with far greater dynamic range than in most films of this type.  Black levels are consistently low but never crushed.  The image looked superb even on my 92-inch projection screen.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio is only average.  Most of the dialog is clear but whenever the assassin spoke, his voice sounded so heavily processed I couldn’t understand a word.  Action scenes don’t sound as intense and dramatic as they could and the surrounds and sub are used only sparingly.  The musical score by Shawn K. Clement was well-mixed and fits the dark and dirty mood perfectly.  My only beef with it was the extremely loud metal-rock track that accompanied the opening credits.

Extras

Bonus features include interviews with the director and cast members and a collection of trailers for other Lionsgate films.