A man-made virus, ‘The Killing Strain’, an out-of-control swine flu, turns infected humans into raging monsters. As it rapidly spreads, a group of uninfected survivors must make life-or-death decisions before the U.S. military firebombs the area in a desperate attempt contain the contagion. The survivors are unaware that the virus has already reached their group by infecting one of them. And now the merciless metamorphic process has begun…
The Black Saint can sum this movie up for all of you in 3-4 sentences based on the first five minutes of it, but that’s not I’m asked to do. I have to actually watch the WHOLE movie and let you know if it’s worth your time. So I did. I watched the entire film & now I’m going to figure out a way to make this review longer than the 3-4 sentences I can sum this film up in.
“The Killing Strain” is one of hundreds of movies detailing the development of a serum of some sort, whether it be to cure some sort of disease or of some military value. Of course this serum never works the way it’s engineers expected it to & upon being injected into one person (Patient Zero), mutates this person into a flesh eating creature that infects everyone it comes in contact with by biting them. These now infected people spread the virus in the same manner & so on. Eventually everybody is running around with some dried Oatmeal on their faces (Passing for decaying flesh) and chasing the few survivors into some sort of shelter where they work together initially but eventually begin to turn on each other as the creatures are waiting for them outside. Remind you of any movies you’ve seen lately?
It’s not that I don’t like these movies, I love them. It’s just that after 400 of them or so in the last few years I start to pray for something new to add to the formula. Something different & fresh, something no one has thought of yet. But I fear that whatever could be done to freshen up this particularly hoary plot has already passed us by. So now we’re back at square one. And the variations of square one will be repeated for a “New Generation” of horror lovers that might not know that this exact movie is available with different actors & a different title many times over. Sucks to be old school like I am. I’ve seen them all before & in all probability, taking my estimated lifespan into consideration, will see them all again. Oh well…..
Here we have the pre-requisite group of survivors holed up in an old house. An elderly woman, a racist hillbilly & his girlfriend, a bespectacled nerd type that is constantly studying the movement patterns of the infected surrounding the house, and a man & woman who you will know will make it to the end of the film. At least one of them will anyway, they have to fall in love first or something stupid like that to make us care about them a bit. And it goes without saying that someone in the house is already infected & has managed to hide it pretty well.
The one minor addition to this shopworn plot is that the house everyone is holed up in sits atop the laboratory where the virus was created. And the scientist who created it is down there, infected of course (The Green greasepaint on his face is a dead giveaway). He is summarily dispatched with & the movie continues. The biker finds some dynamite in an abandoned pickup truck, a helicopter flies overhead & shoots down the infected that are keeping the survivors trapped but it goes down (Thanks to some extremely dodgy CGI). One soldier survives & makes it back to the house. A harebrained plan is hatched to escape & one by one people start dying. Yadda, yadda, yadda. You know how the rest goes.
Recycled plot aside, there is a lot to dislike about this film. Poor makeup effects, Some very annoying (& unnecessary) “Shaky-Cam” work, Acting that is a step below that which you’d find in one of those “Dinner Theater” shows (The Biker is especially awful), minimal, but bad CGI effects & something called “Fried Cola” (You gotta see it to understand). On top of all this, they’re holed up in a house that looks like it could be blown to the ground if all the infected could just put together one collective “Huff & Puff”. And as I said, the two who do survive are the two you’ll recognize as soon as you see them & it closes with a final shot that been done to death in films of this sort.
I suppose director/writer Daniel Maldonado deserves some credit though. Although it’s been done before & I knew just what was gonna happen to everyone in the film, I wasn’t bored by it. I think that’s because I wanted to see if I got my predictions right, and I did. But the film is watchable if nothing else and that’s more than I can say for a lot of movies I’ve seen this year. You could do worse than “The Killing Strain”, but not much worse quite honestly. I’m giving it 1 1/2 shrouds for effort and for daring to be as unoriginal as it could possibly be. If you’re a completist of this type of film, then go on ahead and watch it. I suggest you read the synopsis behind the box before you decide to see it though. Believe me when I say it’s been done before. And sadly, will be done again. And again, and again, and again….
The Killing Strain (2010)