Artisan // 2002 // 88 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 3rd, 2003
In this jungle, the only prey is man.
As if the world needed another low rent crapfest about stupid people setting up camp in the jungle housing a deformed monster. Well, for those of you turning blue from holding your breath, here comes the creature feature Deadly Species. When a college professor (Pete Penuel, My Fellow Americans) and his wife (Allison Adams in her first film role) are given the chance to explore some ancient tribal community in the jungle (or something along those lines), they find more than they bargained for when they come face to face with a deformed lizard-thing with latex looking skin and rubberized claws. Along for the ride is millionaire snob Wilson Friels (Brian Minyard), who is also funding the trip, as well as various teenage college students, each mildly attractive and more than willing to show their breasts because...well, because the script asks them to. Soon these low rent community college actors are deep in the woods with something terrifying...something evil...something that costs around $78.95 to make. Get ready for horror the likes of which you've never seen (or cared to see, for that matter) with Deadly Species.
There was a time when I enjoyed these little cheapo horror romps. Those days must have long since passed me by since Deadly Species seemed like a trip to the dentist for root canal work (sans novocaine). The film -- a complete rip-off of every horror/action/monster movie under the sun in any universe -- seemed to drag on forever even at a scant 88 minute run time. The movie looks cheap and the effects even cheaper; the beast in question appears to be a guy in a rubber Halloween suit, and believe me when I say that I am not exaggerating that statement. Just take a look at the DVD cover shot. Go on, take a good, hard look. I hope you enjoyed that, because if you rent Deadly Species (and God forbid you buy it), that's going to be the highlight of your night. Not one ounce of dialogue is worth listening to, making Deadly Species a prime candidate for using your fast forward button. In fact, I think you could probably watch this movie within about fifteen minutes, give or take thirty seconds. For those interested, here's a breakdown of what you get with Deadly Species: saggy boobs; an actor in an obviously fake rubber suit; dialogue so trite that it makes an Ed Wood movie look like a David Mamet production; direction shakier than a 9.0 Los Angeles earthquake; those horrid POV shots that scream of desperation; and acting so wooden that it could have been used as wall paneling for my basement. To go deep inside the intricacies of the story or characters would only be blowing smoke up both your butt and mine. Take my word for it when I say stay as far away from this film. Possibly somewhere in the region of Saturn's moons.
Deadly Species is presented in a lackluster 1.33:1 full frame transfer. I Don't know if this film was originally shot in widescreen, and frankly I don't care. All in all this transfer is about on par with what I was expecting -- the footage retains a video quality to it, and the colors/black levels are all mediocre at best. For what it's worth, the transfer looks good for the film it's supporting, though that's not saying much. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. The mix on this disc is passable at best -- the biggest boost comes in the form of the pounding music score, which I'm guessing was mixed on some guy's Yamaha keyboard in his parents' rec room. Otherwise, a few directional effects pop up from time to time, and that's about it. Most of the mix is free of any excessive hiss or distortion, though it would have been a welcome change. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles, as well as a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track in English.
Luckily for me and my sanity, Deadly Species is void of any substantial extra features. The only supplements available on this disc are some trailers for four other Artisan horror titles (including the horrid sequel Bloody Murder 2) and a rather boring photo gallery of stills from the film.
Review content copyright © 2003 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Four Theatrical Trailers
* Photo Gallery