Who wants omelets?
Time for another Creature Feature movie. Rather than suffering through the crap-o-rama that is SyFy “exclusive movies” with ridiculous titles and even more ridiculous concepts (Ice Spiders, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus), I thought I go for something in the mid 1990's. Oh, how I miss the 90's. It was a simpler time back then. Bill Clinton was President, cartoons were still great, and Mike Tyson was still the baddest man on the planet. Surely this movie wouldn't have some insane Roger Corman-like creature that would make a bad acid trip look like a Disney movie. Surely.
Proteus is a sci-fi/horror movie from 1995 starring Craig Fairbrass (Dead Cert, Cliffhanger) as the drug smuggling Alex. Alex takes a heroin-filled yacht out to sea with smugglers Paul, Linda, Rachel, Christine and Mark. An accident occurs, leaving them stranded on a life raft in the middle of the ocean. The come across a seemingly abandoned oil rig and climb aboard. The rig is not abandoned because they come across a few workers and a Dr. Shelley. Shelley informs them that the rig is actually a hi-tech research facility being used for biological experiments. The research is being paid for by a rich old man named Brinkstone who is looking to unlock the secrets of immortality. Shelley disappears and the group encounters a security guard, who tells them to hide from someone or something named Charlie. As they are waiting for Charlie to attack, the security guard transforms into a hideous monster. Rachel is attacked and they take her to the medical facility. While she is resting, the creature drops down from the ceiling and into her mouth, possessing her. The creature then possesses the others, leaving Alex and Linda to fight for their lives. Alex, who reveals that he is a DEA agent, finds a video of Dr. Shelley explaining that Charlie their creation from a mixture of DNA splicing and a shark. Charlie is evolving and supposedly cannot be killed. His one weakness is heroin. Will Alex and Linda be able to kill Charlie and get off the rig alive?
Heroin is one helluva drug
A heroin-addicted, possibly immortal creature that can possess the bodies of humans? Yeah that's pretty far out there even in the science fiction/horror world. Proteus is best lumped into the category of monster movies that you'd rent from the video store and then feel completely stupid that you wasted your weekend movie pick on something so stupid. It would be right there on the shelf next to Carnosaur and Dentist II. The movie has a pretty small budget, with shots in the ocean looking like it was done in a swimming pool at the local YMCA. Just because the movie is cheap, doesn't mean that the story has to be cheap as well. For a majority of the movie, we believe that Alex, despite being the hero, is a drug smuggler. I found myself thinking “Why the hell should I cheer for these people? They're drug smugglers and drug users. Fuck them. Get 'em, Proteus!” It's hard to be sympathetic when you have contempt for the characters. Usually that's reserved for one specific character so when they day, the audience can shout a collective “Good!” It doesn't work so well when most of the characters are scumbags.
Despite a barely-coherent script and some bad dialogue, Craig Fairbrass actually does a good job. He's actually had a pretty long career and was even in the very first movie I reviewed, Dead Cert. I hated that movie, but his acting was still good, even in that garbage. He doesn't get much help from his supporting cast, who's acting skills range from balsam to oak in terms of wooden acting. The makeup on the possessed people actually looks pretty good. The big payoff when “Charlie” is finally revealed is pretty laughable. It looks like a mixture of a great white shark, a dinosaur, and an octopus. And it's addicted to heroin. How convenient. Even watching a movie from the mid 90's, I can't avoid seeing a Sharktopusasaurus. It didn't help that one scene where Charlie attacks people looks like something out of a Japanese tentacle rape scene.
Proteus is a weird creature feature/science fiction movie that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There are some decent action scenes and even a good amount of blood. The term “blood sprinkler” comes to mind for one scene. Craig Fairbrass does well with his limited script and even more limited supporting cast. The monster looks very silly and pretty unoriginal. The movie was able to hold my attention, but that's about it. No need to run out to the local flea market and dig through the used VHS movies for this one.