Saturday, May 14, 2011

Black Swarm (2007)

Black Swarm

Written by Todd Samovitz & Ethlie Ann Vare
Directed by David Winning

Devin Hall...Sebastien Roberts
Beverly Rowe...Sheena Larkin
Jane Kozik...Sarah Allen
Kelsey Kozik...Rebecca Windheim
Eli Giles...Robert Englund

Deputy Sheriff Jane Kozik and her young daughter Kelsey say goodbye to the Big City and hello to the small town of Black Stone, New York ("The Town of Good Neighbors").  Jane, who grew up in Black Stone, still pictures the town as a safe refuge from the dangerous outside world, and thinks that it will be a good place to raise her child.  Little does she know that they are not the only new residents in town.

Almost immediately upon her arrival, Jane has to investigate the death of a vagrant.  It appears that he was stung to death by insects.  Turns out that a swarm (probably a black swarm) of mutant killer wasps has descended upon Black Stone, and is just about to begin picking off the populace in strikingly strategic ways.

The Wasp Resistance is a rag-tag one:  A deputy and her daughter, an exterminator (who also just so happens to be the twin brother of said deputy's deceased husband), an entomologist (that's a Bug Nerd, in layman's terms), and a kooky old blind woman.  The probably could use the help of Eli, the curmudgeonly self-professed Bee Keeper...but he's not much of a people person, and if that impossibly expansive secret laboratory hidden beneath his mobile home is any indication, he probably has something to do with the whole thing, anyway.

Here's the breakdown:  the acting is pretty decent here, especially from horror alum Robert Englund (watch for a brief in-joke reference to his most-famous franchise).  The special effects are passable on the occasions when they are practical, but more often than not it is mediocre CGI.  Cinematically, it looks pretty good, too, although there is occasionally some MTV-style editing that is pointlessly distracting.  The pacing is pretty decent, although it lags a little toward the end.  There were some elements that could have proved interesting if they were explained properly--at times, Black Swarm is part Nature Strikes Back and part Zombie Flick (of all things)--but the "scientific" explanations given were really pretty dumb, and barely even touched upon.  These large lapses in logic are the main problem just seems highly unlikely that a human body could be controlled like a big, fleshy Muppet by a group of wasps acting as Jim Henson.  It seems even more unlikely that the body could simply explode into a swarm of wasps, as if it was never actually a body at all, just a swarm of wasps pretending to be a body.

Overall, this wasn't a bad film considering it was a Sci-Fi Channel original movie.  If you go in expecting a little excitement, a lot of nonsense, and a fair share of soap opera silliness rather than an actual good movie, there is plenty here to be enjoyed.

Not Rated
89 Minutes
United States

"You're officially the weirdest wasp I've ever seen."

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