Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Nic Rhind, Robyn Ledoux, Russell Ferrier, Sharron Bertchilde, Marina Pasquua
Written & Directed by Jonas Quastel
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Jonas Quastel's Scourge is one of those body-jumping monster movies where a parasitic creature infects someone, makes use of their body for its needs, and then moves on to another human host leaving the person it just left to die a bloody husk. This creature's signs of intelligence come and go at the convenience of the script and its agenda is nothing more than to feed on people until it gets big enough to spawn. There isn't even any consistency to how those it infects react: some have their entire mind and body almost instantaneously taken over while others somehow don't even know there's a foot-long parasite feeding on them from the inside until, again, it’s convenient for the script.
Watching the first victims behave after it gets inside them left me wondering how much of this Quastel intended as comedy. It's not all that funny but it certainly is silly seeing them belch non-stop, consume mass quantities (as the Coneheads would put it), and clumsily stumble about like a zombie with deficient motor skills. Seeing a large man in his pajamas brutishly bumbling about a shopping mall knocking people and things over, grunting and belching, constantly staring at other people's belly buttons is not a sight that can be taken seriously. But again, it’s all more silly than funny.
Why the obsession with belly buttons? The creature enters peoples' bodies through their navels, somehow seamlessly doing so without ever leaving so much as a trickle of blood. When the time comes it exits out of the host's mouth. Why not just in and out of the mouth for both entry and exit? Probably because that would only serve to further remind you just how derivative of The Hidden this Scourge is, and it most definitely is. The demonic Scourge even looks like the alien body-swapper from The Hidden only blacker, toothier, and more insectoid.
The monster FX are quite good; I'm guessing a huge chunk of the $1.5 million budget went to the creature f/x because the movie as a whole looks rather cheap.
The Scourge gets loose after the 200-year old church where it had been entombed burns down. An unfortunate young fireman is the first victim. He then passes it along to the blonde bimbo he's been slipping his fire hose to. She just happens to be the two-timing girlfriend of our hero, Scott, a hockey player with a troubled past.
I really ought not to use the word "hero" to describe this guy. Scott confronts his philandering girlfriend after she's already passed along the Scourge to some guy she seduced in a nightclub ladies room. After she collapses to the ground dying, bleeding from the eyes and vomiting up copious amounts of blood, as two other young women walk in on the ghastly scene, Scott's natural instinct is to get the hell out of there, hop onto his motorcycle, and speed away to his ex-girlfriend Jessie's house to hideout for the night. Yeah, some hero.
Now, in addition to being the prime suspect in his cheating girlfriend's death, there's also the matter of the sheriff being related to his ex-Jessie and having a personal vendetta against Scott and his family. The remainder of the movie is Scott and Jessie rekindling their romance while trying to prove his innocence, stop the creature, and evade the hateful sheriff. And if they can work it into their schedule, they might even take a minute or two to try and figure out what on earth this creature is. Hopefully there'll be an elderly lady in a wheelchair and a one-eyed priest around to clue them in on that last part.
All in all, Scourge is an instantly forgettable monster movie just adequate enough that it probably won't bore you but it certainly won't enthrall you. It never really capitalizes on its own ideas because it barely has any to begin with. The mythology behind this monster is treated almost as an afterthought and alcohol being its Achilles' heel is about the only thing differentiating this Scourge from every other body-jumping movie monster you've ever seen. Every other aspect of the film suffers from a serious sense of been there, done that.
The Scourge monster may enter via the belly button and exit out of the mouth but the Scourge movie is strictly in one ear and out the other.
2 1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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