With the famed 2000 Y2K bug in loom, the Haskin family retreats to a ghost town, in the mountains of Sierra Diablos. While camping they’re abducted by a deranged Hillbilly family, The Crawford’s. Neither family can possibly fathom the unearthly presence about to interrupt their unholy redneck wedding. Will The Haskins have what it takes to survive against all odds, will the Crawford’s overcome all adversity and have their unholy union or will each fall prey to the monstrosity known simply as The Millennium Bug?
Directed By: Kenneth Cran
Starring: John Charles Meyer, Jessica Simons, Christine Haeberman
To fully enjoy Millennium Bug, its best recommended one checks all inhibitions, pre-conceived notions or expectations at the door. While it may be unfair to judge the film’s merit based solely on title, suffice to state the audience is in for a real exploitation, cheesy treat. The premise of the production’s creature being a sort of prehistoric insect/reptile/creature that incubates only every one thousand years is certainly intriguing and innovating enough. The creature’s design in its own right is impressive full of unrelenting terror as it preys upon hapless victims relentlessly and without prejudice. Somewhere in the delivery we’re susceptible to a product that is more of a Godzilla meets Deliverance meets Friday the 13th meets the Hills Have Eyes. It is absurdity that shouldn’t be taken too seriously yet its staggering how the plot gets continuously muddled lacking focus or direction.
The subtext or theme of the hillbillies is somewhat tiresome, old and makes the film appear to be more of comedic tongue in cheek caliber rather than a good old fashioned creep feast. In comparison when we look at other such themes from The Wrong Turn franchise, The Hills Have Eyes or even the Texas Chainsaw Massacre clan, each of those productions carried their weight in creepy antagonists, something to make our skin crawl, cringe before the screen or think twice before shovelling the next handful of popcorn. In Millennium Bug’s case the redneck conglomerate seems to focus more ridiculous banter and dialogue rather than any powerful imagery.
Another subtext of the Haskin family, dysfunctional for all intents and purposes retreating for a camping honeymoon Y2K getaway seems a little out of place and doesn’t really hold any serious consequence. The plot development would have held much more water I believe if the screen writers had removed these elements and simply placed the trio on a camping trip, the end. The alternative comes across as contrived and ultimately irritates the audience. There is no believability factor suspended, making us feel cheated or insolent into investing into these characters. Frankly we cared not whether they were abducted or not and wondered why we cared by the time the creature came around in hot pursuit. It became a gratuitous monster versus humans expose that lacked all of the cult cinematic qualities that we develop in seemingly far more inferior productions.
The entire relevance of the Hillbilly clan is pretty murky and a little indifferent for most. I think a much more effective production could have been made omitting them altogether. The only weight they really carried was more fresh meat and blood for the creature to devour.
While many variables are utilized to capture rising tension in the creature making its presence known the plot does take a lot of twists, dips and bends from the scientist pursing the creature to the Haskins to the creature to the Hillbillies and any combination thereof makes the story unnerving. It bombards the audience with unease, finding excuse to retreat to the lavatory for a lengthy break in re-evaluating how we’ve invested our past ninety minutes.
The no CGI claim the production boasts several times before the beginning credits role, if entirely valid is impressive. The images captured of the creature’s lurking tentacles resonate long after the fact. Shots captured of swallowing the hapless victims into the earth are chilling, making it that much more frustrating why more wasn’t done with this product.
But don’t take my word for it, apparently The Millennium Bug did receive The Squire Film Shoppe award at the 2011 Dragon Con Short Film Festival.
-Two out of five tombstones
The Millennium Bug (2011)