After a convoy of American soldiers disappears, a special ops team is deployed to rescue them. They soon encounter an army of gigantic scorpions, spiders and snakes that have come to Earth from another dimension.
With lines like, “I’m getting sick and tired of these big, bad bugs,” you know this is one major cheese fest! I often use the term ‘B-movie magic’…not as an insult, but just to describe a particular formula certain low-budget horror movies tend to follow and still achieve that certain ‘something’ that works. The Vortex hits on pretty much all those fronts! Don’t misunderstand, though: it’s a terrible movie. The script is a disaster, the acting is barely tolerable and the CGI is perfectly laughable. But the whole thing just kind of…works, y’know?
We lead off with a motley band of individuals out in the desert, near a cave all dressed in military uniforms. What I loved was that you couldn’t quite figure out if they were supposed to be real soldiers, or militia or terrorists or contractors, or what…..essentially since no one wore a stitch of rank anywhere. But, guess what? The answer really doesn’t matter! Because it’s still just a cheezed up creature feature. Yep, if you’ve been hungering for giant flying hornets, you’ve come to the right place! Earlier, a thought occurred to me: with the sound turned up loud and everyone pretty much paying attention, this would be a great party movie! But, I digress…back to the story:
So the band of pseudo-soldiers are conducting some type of hunt or research or something of that ilk, when they are attacked by a massive killer scorpion (who’s tail rattles just like a rattlesnake’s….imagine that!) This brings up the question: if you and your compadres are being attacked by such a monster, would you really yell, “Run for your lives!”?? Doing so just seems so prosaic, doesn’t it? So, let’s just say that things dont work out too well for that little crew.
Somehow, a team of SEALS (yep, it’s always the SEALS who have to risk life-and-limb to fight those big insects) get pulled into the mix. Is it really so difficult to make sure the “commander” of the team isn’t actually wearing Army rank (and not even a sergeant, at that?!)
Jack Plotnick plays the nerdy Dr. William Marx, and does so quite well, I might add. He was a member of the team who created this whole energy vortex mess to begin with! The vortex, exposes insects to “Gatta radiation”, and no, that’s not a typo. So, a soldier is fetched to retrieve the good doctor during a fishing trip (notably, he finds the doctor holding a spin cast rod and reel upside down, mind you). The doctor is summoned with much earnest to help fix this big mess of giant critters! When he arrives at the non-specific military building, he’s escorted by a female soldier with a gorgeous, bouncy little pony tail…..in uniform! Ted Jonas plays the Seal Team commander, Lt. Raiger and comes across much dorkier than any single member of his team (that’s B-movies for ya’!)
So, essentially, Act 2 is pretty much a bunch of running around, looking for the members of the “lost” team (most of whom bought the farm in Act 1). There’s plenty of shenanigans to be had, and I did like Jonas’ bit of riding and killing a massive tarantula…..nice! The lovely Sarah Lieving brings a nice touch to almost round things out a bit, and heaven knows, she tries hard! She puts alot of soul into her soldier role, but just mostly moves the limp dialogue along, one paragraph at a time.
So, as one might guess, there’s also another doctor folded into this whole disaster and he’s kind of the ‘evil’ doctor. He re-appears at the end of the film and that’s where things get REAL weird. I don’t want to ruin it, but let’s just say that he morphs into the talking version of a certain reptile and the SEAL Team commander has to use some magical gem to morph himself into such a similar creature, which results in the two battling to the death! Yep, and it all plays out about as weirdly as it reads!
If super-cheese is your thing, you’ll like this one. But, if you’re looking for SERIOUS horror, just skip this one!