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On a moonlit night, in a remote research laboratory, a major medical breakthrough is about to have deadly results. A chemical compound that was created to "hunt and destroy" deadly cancer cells has leaked from the hazardous waste disposal system into the building's basement. Now, the rodents involved in the laboratory experiment upstairs are not the only rats in the facility that will become the altered species. Professor Schultz, a leading bio-researcher, has just determined that the addition of a new enzyme now enables his "hunt and destroy" formulation to regenerate for the length of time necessary to neutralize deadly cancer tumors. When three varying degrees of the new mixture are administered to three different rats and the rest poured down the faulty "Waste Hazard" sink, shocking side-effects result in a night of terror... Written by
Bland characters, bad script, horrible special effects, and an apparent hatred for the viewers...
Every so often, while strolling through the aisles of the local video store, the unsuspecting consumer will spot something out of the corner of his eye that almost shouts, "LOOK AT ME!!! I'M WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR!!!"
In my own particular case, this is exactly what happened. I had visited the local Blockbuster with my lovely and talented assistant, Noodles, in search of a movie so painfully stupid, so insipid, that I could sit through the entire thing without the slightest bit of sympathy for the so-called heroes.
"Altered Species" (packaged this time around as "Rodentz") is just such a film. So loathsome were its main characters that I found myself hoping, almost praying, that these brick-stupid chunkheads would fall victim to the leader of the rats - a six-foot critter that looks like a guy in a bear suit that has seen better days. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
"Altered Species" stars no one and features little more. It's lead actors - okay, it's ONLY actors - all look vaguely familiar, but you can't place the faces. If I had to guess, I would say that at least one of them has asked me, personally, if I "want fries with that."
The story, such as it is, revolves around a group of drunken people who visit their scientist friend, Walter, at the laboratory where he works with a cranky old guy who is continuously yelling at him that "the formula is FINE!"
During Walter's initial scenes, we get a taste of the back story, and it seems that clumsy Walter accidentally lets a crate full of lab rats loose in the building's basement. These rats, in turn, have been drinking from the experimental formula that they had previously been injected with.
After the cranky guy's cat (a cat?!? In a science lab full of rats?!?) disappears, he goes off to find him, and bad things happen to him. Walter, brick-stupid dolt that he is, doesn't find it the least bit suspicious that his boss also disappears, and proceeds to let his idiot friends in, where they can swill tequila from a plastic gallon jug. The friends are typical - almost cardboard cutout-like - horror film fodder, and it's not long before you begin hoping the rats get fed up with them and start eating them. It is not long before our prayers are answered.
Without giving away too much about this film, I think I can safely say that most of the people that deserve to die, do. I would say ALL of the people who deserve to die, but that wouldn't have left anybody to whimper and limp off into the sunset at the end of the film (as is required for this sort of flick).
Of course, with any horror film that feels it is worth its weight in celluloid, there is an obligatory nude scene, but it is played in such a way that the viewer isn't even given any gratification on that front, either. The girl is a sleazy tramp, and the guy is dumber than a box of hair. It was like watching Sylvester Stallone during his pre-Rocky, Death Race 2000 days, trying to get lucky with one of Calvin Klein's anorexic, heroine-addicted underwear models. Fortunately, the girl stops the greasy butt-steak from violating her long enough to ask if he has a condom. He doesn't, and a trip to the van downstairs is required. While the big, dumb lump rifles through the glove box, his beloved skank is having her face eaten by the above-mentioned six-foot rat.
Stupid? Yes. Banal? Without a doubt. A waste of money? Absolutely. But... Er... Okay, I was going for something here, but I don't remember what it was. Suffice to say, this is a not-good movie. Not a "bad" movie, mind you. Those are at least watchable on some level. A not-good film is sort of like setting your shirt on fire - fascinating at first, but you're going to end up hurting when it's finished.
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