Deadly Species (2003) Movie Review

Ah, the stray piece of hair stuck in the film camera’s loading gate, the first sign of trouble for “Deadly Species” (not that there weren’t any before, natch). When you see a whole sequence with a big piece of hair twirling away over the filmed image, you know you’re not about to sit down for a movie of “Citizen Kane” caliber. Unfortunately that statement is all too true when we’re dealing with “Deadly Species”, about an expedition into the wild Florida Everglades in search of a Native American tribe thought to be extinct.

Actually that last statement isn’t exactly true, because the “wild Everglades” actually looks quite homely, not to mention less than “deadly”. In fact, I think I was in rougher terrain when I went to my local city park for a picnic last week. No sooner do our intrepid explorers — consisting of two professors, the millionaire that bankrolled their expedition, and some college kids — enter the “wild” Everglades does stuntmen in foam rubber suits — er, I mean deformed creature start stalking them.

Anyone who has seen enough of these Lost Tribe movies will know two things right off the bat: 1) The college professor and his wife will want to study the species for purely noble reasons, while 2) the millionaire will have an ulterior motive, probably something really evil and since he’s also a — gasp! — Capitalist, he’ll want to make a buck. And the college students? If they all live I’ll be shocked. As it stands, I’m certain the two girls, whose last name we don’t even know, will go first and second, the order of their deaths depending on which one goes naked first. (Although technically the girl with the boyfriend is naked first, but that was back in “civilization”.)

The better question is if Brian Minyard’s Evil Capitalist knows so much about the lost tribe, why does he need Pete Penuel’s Noble Professor to lead the expedition? As far as I can tell, the professor seems to know a lot of useless academic information, all of which the Evil Capitalist also knows. In fact, the Evil Capitalist, because of his monetary influences, seems to know even more than the Noble Professor. So why is the Evil Capitalist, who has Evil Intentions, wasting his time with a bunch of academics who will become nothing but obstacles to his Evil Plans?

At around the 40-minute mark, one of the college girls whose last name we don’t know goes naked in the first pond they come across. A pond, I might add, that is miraculously clean for the “unexplored and still wild Everglades”. I guess the fact that the expedition just stumbled across bloody remains of the expedition that preceded them doesn’t deter from the first chance at a naked bath. Needless to say, she bites it first. Wow, I’m so shocked!

If you didn’t know that “Deadly Species” is a piece of junk, consider this inspired piece of writing. Later in the film, the camp arms itself for a night attack by the creatures. When the creatures do attack, the Evil Capitalist and his Silent Bodyguard opens fire with heavy weapons, chasing the creatures away. What do you think happens now? If you guessed that the Noble Professor would berate the Evil Capitalist for trying to save their lives from bloodthirsty creatures that have already killed 2 and nearly gutted the Noble Professor, then give yourself a gold star.

Gee, I wonder if the Evil Capitalist will die a most gruesome death? Oh wait, I forgot. “Deadly Species” is junk writing. Worst, it even tries to offer a message at the end. It’s hard enough for me to stand a bad movie, but when that bad movie tries to preach to me as well, I think it’s time for payback.

On the plus side, at least “Deadly Species” isn’t “National Security”.

Daniel Springen (director) / Rory Penland, Bill Suchy (screenplay)
CAST: Pete Penuel …. Dr. Brinson Thomas
Allison Adams …. Marta Thomas

Buy Deadly Species on DVD