In Host, Missouri, the newcomer Dr. of Veterinary Magic Eli Rudkus is called by the farmer Jacob Long to exam one of his cows. The veterinarian finds a strange parasite in the animal and ...
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On a hot summer afternoon in the sleepy town of Blackwater, Louisiana locals exiting a retro-fitted theater excitedly watch as a meteor streaks across the sky and crashes through the roof ... See full summary »
A scientist tries to save his son from cancer but his experiments turn him into a shark-man instead. A group of people from a pharmaceutical corporation are sent to the mad doctor's island to investigate his activities.
In Host, Missouri, the newcomer Dr. of Veterinary Magic Eli Rudkus is called by the farmer Jacob Long to exam one of his cows. The veterinarian finds a strange parasite in the animal and sends it to a friend in the Department of Agriculture for research. Later, he finds the same parasite in a creek and he summons the population for a meeting, warning that the cause might be the animal food. However, Fletcher Odermatt, the wealthy owner of the local Host Tender Meals that has been providing free animal food for the farmers, brings his lawyer Hayley Anderson and discredits Eli. When a huge mutant parasite attacks Eli and Jacob, they discover that the meals are actually an experimental genetic cocktail that is growing parasites inside the cattle and people. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the scene where the guy and the girl are making out, the girl removes her bra. When the parasite starts to hurt the guy, he tells her to drive to a hospital. When she climbs to the front seat, she's wearing the bra again. As she starts the car, her bra is again missing, but as she runs away from the car, the bra is back on. See more »
Veterinarian Eli Rudkus (Vincent Ventresca) has just moved to the small town of Host, Missouri. Host is primarily a beef farming community, and is home to Host Tender Meats, a successful corporation now running tests for enhanced feed on many local farmers' cattle. Rudkus discovers a cow infected with a strange parasite, and soon after, other animals with evidence of the same parasitic infection. Something is wrong in Host, and it is growing to epidemic proportions.
This is a great, fun film, which is only slightly marred by a somewhat rushed ending (oddly characteristic of quite a few Sci-Fi Channel original movies). My final score was 9 out of 10.
The first thing that struck me as refreshingly unusual about Larva was director Tim Cox's emphasis on shades of orange, including various browns and some almost monotone sepia-colored shots, ala tinted silent films. The coloring reflects the horrific menace--worms, and also emphasizes how often cinematography and production design are not oriented towards particular colors, except for blue (such as Gothika (2003)) and the occasional green (such as The Matrix (1999)). This is an aspect of film-making I'd like to see directors experiment with much more.
The story, although probably somewhat predictable overall (there almost seems to be a formula, which I won't detail here for fear of spoilers, to these "bugs out of control" horror films) is executed very well here. Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not subtract points for predictability. Lots of things in life are predictable, but that makes them no less enjoyable. As long as a story is gripping and entertaining, I don't mind predictability one bit.
Although Sci-Fi channel original films seem to suffer some characteristic flaws, they also tend to benefit from excellent casts. They often focus on severely underrated or relatively unknown actors, especially character actors. The standout in Larva for me is William Forsythe (as Jacob Long), with star Vincent Ventresca not far behind. Both are perfectly cast, with Ventresca playing the nervous newbie with a questionable past and Forsythe the intelligent and aggressive yet paranoid farmer who becomes Ventresca's sidekick.
Cox knows how to build tension, and towards the middle of the film, each scene tends to top the previous one (although the hospital sequence is a particular stand-out and not topped for the remainder of the film). He's aided by spectacular creature effects, which make Larva begin to seem more like an entry in the Alien series, or perhaps a precursor spin-off of Starship Troopers (in more of a Friday the 13th-styled small town atmosphere).
The horror in Larva is grounded in current news and some popular cultural attitudes. Namely, "meat scares" such as E. Coli and Mad Cow Disease, combined with anti-corporate paranoia. Both of these are fairly conspicuous, but they're incorporated smoothly just the same, and may make the film even more effective for many contemporary viewers.
As a 9 out of 10, Larva is definitely worth a look, and no, I didn't adjust my scale to "compensate" for this being a made-for-television movie. It's a 9 out of 10 on the same exact scale I use for everything. If only there could have been made-for-television horror films this great when I was growing up.
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