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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 25: Black Swarm

Black Swarm
Riders on the swarm

I haven't reviewed a Creature-based horror movie yet and was having trouble deciding. There's movies about alligators, crocodiles, spiders, bears, sharks, snakes, frogs, and even worms. Why are there so many? Is it because they're easy to make? Anyway, I was due to watch a movie from this subgenre and I happened to that Black Swarm had Robert Englund starring in it. That's all I needed to know. Choice made.

Black Swarm stars Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Inkubus) as the secretive beekeeper Eli, Sebastien Roberts (Lucky Number Slevin) as exterminator Devin Hall, and Sarah Allen (Being Human, Dead Zone) as Deputy Sheriff Jane Kozik. Jane moves back to her old town of Black Stone with her daughter Kelsey. In town, Kelsey meets a strange beekeeper named Eli Giles. People in town are quickly dying do to massive wasp stings. Others in town start to act strangely, almost like they are possessed and turned into zombies. Joined by her ex love Devin, Jane must save her daughter from a crazed government entomologist, hoping to turn the genetically modified wasps into weapons. 

Welcome to Prime Time, bee-tch

This movie doesn't know what type of genre it wants to be. Its part horror, sci-fi, romance, thriller, suspense, and a whole bunch of other things. I appreciate the effort to make an actual story in comparison to some of the other creature features that get dumped to the $2.00 DVD bin at the local flea market. Unfortunately, the story bounces around so much that it loses focus. Why have people turn into zombies or “drones” as they're called to terrorize the town? It comes off as a cheap imitation of George Romero's The Crazies. If you want them to be the main danger, that's fine, but then don't have the wasps. Add a government conspiracy on top of this, and you're confused as to why wasps even get top billing as the main villain.

Robert Englund is great as always. He could read the menu at McDonald's and make it sound compelling. Everyone else does a fine job, though the daughter, like all children in horror movies, comes off as extremely annoying. Why is it that every kid in horror has to be irritating? It's like an unspoken requirement. Good special effects and makeup help put Black Swarm into a higher quality of creature feature than your typical animal movie. It thankfully does not have any of those blatantly fake computer-generated animals you see in other films.

I just wanted some honey! AAAAHHHHH!

Black Swarm has a bigger budget, good effects, and far better acting than the usual creature movies you might see on the SyFy channel. The story, while choppy and unfocused, at least tries to give some explanation to why things happen. It has some good ideas, but bounces around too much trying to cram everything in. Robert Englund is great, as usual, supported by an able cast. If you like to see Mr. Freddy Kruger in action, or just like insects, you might enjoy Black Swarm. If not, grab yourself a can of Raid.


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