(Movie Review by Jerry White) Make no mistake about it: “Biohazardous” is a bad movie. Luckily, it’s a good bad movie. Filmed entirely in my home state of New Jersey, “Biohazardous” is an old-fashioned, unpretentious, zero budget zombie flick. The acting is terrible, the script nonsensical, and the direction uninspired. And I found it all inexplicably entertaining.
The movie begins with a crowd protesting Gentech, a mysterious research facility in Hillsdale, New Jersey, where a reporter (played by the producer) interviews religious freakazoid Father Morris (Will Dunham), who claims the activities taking place within Gentech’s walls are an aberration against God. Of course, Father Morris doesn’t know what Gentech is really doing, because no one knows what they’re really doing. What he does know is that it’s Ungodly. Father Morris is smart that way.
Meanwhile, Laura Forman (Sprague Grayden) argues with her dad Hank (Gary Ray), a security guard at Gentech. Hank doesn’t want Laura and her fun loving teenage friends to hang out around the facility because it’s dangerous. Of course, Hank doesn’t know what type of research Gentech is doing either, because they don’t let him inside. He just knows it’s something bad. He must have been talking to Father Morris.
The first half hour of the movie is pretty slow. We’re supposed to learn about the different characters, including the evil Dr. Stine (Get it? Stine? As in “Franken”? Pretty clever, huh?), Laura’s friends, and a couple of cops. Unfortunately, this means the actors have to talk. This was a clear strategic error on the part of the writer/director, and is corrected later on in the movie when actors need only run around and scream and get torn asunder.
Laura and her friends end up, through a series of unfortunate events, being trapped in Gentech, along with a group of flesh-eating zombies. Seems Gentech, utilizing B-Movie Clich’ 478B, has being doing research on re-animating the dead in order to create the perfect military weapon. This is revealed to Laura after she hacks into the security system (by guessing the password through divine intervention, no less) and sees a video of Gentech’s experiments with the ROTD germ, which is the movie’s gaseous, “bring you back from the dead” thingy. Also, if the dead bite you, you become one of them.
Luckily, these zombies aren’t the souped up, Danny Boyle “28 Days Later” amphetamine types. In fact, they’re even slower than Romero zombies. They’re so slow that in order for anyone to get caught, one of two things has to happen: the zombies either jump out of all the doorways in that particular hallway simultaneously (this happens at least five times), or the victim has to stand, scream, and wait for the zombies to arrive.
“Biohazardous” would have been more effective (although less entertaining) if Gentech did not resemble a commonplace doctor’s clinic. Actually, I think it is a doctor’s clinic. Also, they could have cut down on all the running through hallways that pads out the film’s 90 minutes. I’m certainly not against hallway running, but when your interior is obviously not as large as you want it to seem, and you keep filming people running down the same hallway… Well, you get the idea.
The characters themselves are all stereotypes: fanatical priest, Indian comic relief at the 7-11, mad scientist, white/veteran cop, black/rookie cop, druggie teenager, good girl, hot girl… you get the picture. There’s no one to root for; it’s really just a matter of guessing in what order they’re going to die. “Biohazardous” is gory, though, and the makeup effects, while not great, aren’t atrocious.
There are also some great B-movie moments in “Biohazardous”. Father Morris using wire cutters to clip through a chain-link fence, without actually touching the fence, is one such moment. One of the cops asking a group of teenagers, “Does anybody know how to use a computer?” is another. A machine gun that only fires in single bursts will leave you in stitches. Then there’s this guy in a plaid shirt who, in every scene, is obviously trying to contain his laughter. And building a barricade by putting a bookcase in front of a doorway, without closing the door first, is sheer genius.
If you do see “Biohazardous”, make sure you listen to the commentary. It’s actually the best thing about the DVD; you get the impression that the filmmakers are a bunch of pretty cool people who had fun making the movie. And you realize that making a movie — even a bad one like this — is still a lot of work. As long as you’re in the right frame of mind (i.e. intoxicated), “Biohazardous” isn’t the worst way to spend ninety minutes.
Michael J. Hein (director) / Michael J. Hein (screenplay)
CAST: Sprague Grayden …. Laura Forman
David Garver …. Steve
Tom Cahill …. Mr. Stine
Gary Ray …. Hank Forman
Al Tompson …. Mike Walker
Katheryn Winnick …. Jennifer