In this weeks episode of the Jamie Lee Curtis Horror Rewatch, Cory and Nathan fight a space signal but promise not to infect anyone else as they discuss “Virus”.

Trailer:

Virus (1999):

Akademik Vladislav Volkov, a Russian research vessel in the South Pacific, communicates with the orbiting space station Mir. A large energy source traveling through space strikes Mir, killing the cosmonauts and beaming itself down to Volkov. The electrical surge takes over the ship and attacks the crew.

Seven days later, the tugboat Sea Star, captained by alcoholic Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland), loses its uninsured cargo while sailing through a typhoon. Sea Star’s crew, led by navigator and ex-Navy officer Kelly Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) and engineer Steve Baker (William Baldwin), discover the engine room taking on water. When Sea Star takes refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs, Volkov appears on their radar. Realizing that it could be worth millions in salvage, Everton orders his crew aboard.

On Volkov, most of the electronics have been destroyed and the Russian crew are seemingly missing. Everton orders Steve to help a fellow crewman, Squeaky (Julio Oscar Mechoso), restore power to the ship. Immediately afterward, the ship’s anchor drops on its own, sinking Sea Star with deckhand Hiko (Cliff Curtis) and first mate J.W. Woods, Jr. (Marshall Bell) on board. Steve leaves Squeaky to guard the engine room, where he is lured to his death by a robotic, spider-like creature. Steve rescues an injured Hiko, while Woods comes out unscathed.

As Foster treats Hiko in the sick bay, Chief Science Officer Nadia Vinogradova (Joanna Pacuła)—the sole surviving member of Volkov’s crew—shoots at the crew and is subdued by Steve. Nadia is hysterical about “it” needing power to travel through the ship and implores the crew to shut down the generators. She attacks Everton and Foster, who subdues her and takes her to the bridge. Steve, Woods, and crewman Richie Mason (Sherman Augustus) go to the engine room to look for Squeaky, but instead stumble upon an automated workshop producing more of the strange robots.

The three are attacked by the robots and what appears to be a gun-wielding Russian crew member. The Russian is revealed to be a cyborg, but the three bring it down with salvaged munitions and take its seemingly dead body to the bridge. Nadia explains that the sentient electrical energy beamed from the Mir took over the ship eight days prior, scanned the ship’s computers to find information on killing humans, then used the automated workshops to convert Volkov’s crew into cyborgs; the one brought to the bridge was the ship’s captain and Nadia’s husband.

As the storm resumes, the crew head for the computer room. On the way, they are ambushed by a converted Squeaky and a giant robot that kills Woods. The survivors barricade themselves in the communications room, where Richie sends out a mayday; however, Everton shoots out the radio, unwilling to give up his salvage. Foster punches Everton and removes him from command. Richie uses the computers to talk to the alien; it tells them that it is “aware” and sees mankind as a “virus” which it plans to use as “spare parts.” This drives Richie insane, causing him to gun down Squeaky and flee. When the remaining crew leave the room, Everton takes the opportunity to talk to the alien, which recognizes him as the “dominant lifeform.”

The crew discovers that the alien has moved Volkov ‘s computer elsewhere in the ship. Realizing that the ship is moving, they return to the bridge by going outside, where Hiko is lost to the typhoon. Meanwhile, Everton is guided to one of the workshops, where he makes a bargain with the alien. Foster identifies Lord Howe Island as Volkov’s destination, with Nadia surmising that the alien wishes to seize a British intelligence station from which it could seize control of the world’s military forces. As they decide to sink Volkov, the survivors are confronted by the now-cyborg Everton, which they defeat with a thermite hand grenade. They empty the ship’s fuel tanks and set explosive charges.

Foster, Steve and Nadia run into Richie. A giant robot suddenly appears and attacks Nadia, Richie and Steve. The robot captures Foster and tortures her for the location of the detonator. A mortally wounded Richie informs Steve that he prepared a jury-rigged ejection seat that can be used for escape. Nadia and Steve rescue Foster, and Nadia sacrifices herself by shooting a flaregun at nearby gas tanks to kill the robot. As Foster and Steve make it out safely by using Richie’s ejection seat, which triggers an explosion and sinks Volkov, causing the sentient electricity to disperse in the seawater. Foster and Steve are rescued by a U.S. naval ship.

Summary:

The first 30-40 minutes of this film is fun, but it’s set up abruptly falls apart once the film tries to get going. The meat and potatoes of the plot are thrown away, and clearly stifled by and uninterested cast. The practical effects are decent but the CGI is just awful. Not recommend.

What’s Up Next?:

We’re on the Halloween track till the release of the new film from here on out. Next week we discuss “Halloween : Resurrection.”

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