Warriors of Terra (2006)
Starring Edward Furlong, Ellen Furey, Andrea Lui, Dylan Taylor, Andrew Hachey, Krystin Pellerin, Trina Brink
Directed by Robert Wilson
I’ve always said that a boring film is the worst kind of bad movie there is and Warriors of Terra may very well be the worst direct-to-DVD horror movie I've seen thus far this year. Unlike the countless no budget, do-if-yourself, shot-on-digital flicks that pop up on DVD racks on a regular basis, Warriors of Terra clearly had some money behind, and unlike the makers of most of those other flicks, the director of Warriors of Terra is technically efficient. So what went wrong?
For starters, it’s boring. Warriors of Terra is one of the most boring DTV movies I've seen all year. It's an uninteresting story with uninteresting characters in an uninteresting setting being stalked and killed in an uninteresting manner by an uninteresting menace. The movie starts with characters wandering about the place exploring, then they wander about the place looking for a way out, and then they wander around trying to stay alive and find a way out. Outside of the first ten minutes, the plot is pretty much on autopilot for most of the next hour. This is a prime example of a premise that has been stretched so thin for a feature length film as to reach its breaking point.
The other big problem is the direction. I said the director was competent with the camera. True. But first-time director Robert Wilson makes the mistake that many first-time directors - too much empty technique. Wilson relies on an onslaught of fancy edits, flashes, fades, trick lighting, quick cuts, and a variety of loud noises and what not to try and generate suspense whenever the film's fiend goes on the attack. It doesn't work at all; it actually succeeded in accomplishing the opposite. It doesn't generate tension; it detracts from it by becoming an irritating distraction. The only emotion I felt more than boredom while watching Warriors of Terra was annoyance with the overused camera-editing tricks. And none of this stylized nonsense changes the fact that the pacing is so slow to the point of non-existence.
The plot ... Oh, yeah; the plot. The young members of an animal rights group break into some corporation's underground research facility with the help of the rebellious daughter of one of the facility's researchers and a security guard that is actually a member of their group undercover (Edward Furlong, not looking well at all). Their plan to free the research animals proves a bust when they find the cages empty. Their getaway is thwarted due to heavily armed security being called in to deal with the break-in, as well as that one girl's scientist father who has shown up concerned about the well being of one of his experiments. The eco-terrorist's topside computer geek tries to get them out by unlocking everything in the facility, unwittingly releasing a dangerous mutant in the process.
The mutant in question is a girl named Maya. She looks like Jena Malone with big, unkempt hair and one constant facial expression that makes it looks like the actress is trying to imitate the icy facial expressions of Robert Patrick's T-1000 from Terminator 2. Mostly she looks as bored as I felt watching her. Maya's sort of like Mathilda May's space vampire from Lifeforce in the way that she just walks around the place, approaching unsuspecting people, and then robbing them of their life by merely clutching them, but doing so wearing a worn Sunday dress and with the physical appearance, strange neck twitching, perpetual staring and never blinking personality of a ghostly mute from a Japanese style horror flick like The Ring. Whatever they were going for with Maya doesn't work - at all.
It seems that one girl's scientist daddy had been trying to find a cure for cancer. Note to all scientists out there: don't try curing cancer with the Ebola virus. Although he technically succeeded in curing her cancer, the cure ended up mutating this poor girl into a killing machine that's nearly impossible to kill due to her regenerative powers and who kills people by injecting victims with a virus that instantly liquefies their internal organs. I think she did this in order to feed but I don't quite remember and, frankly, the movie doesn't even let you see the attack scenes most of the time, so why she does it really doesn't even matter. This again harkens back to the director's failed attempts to be stylish. A bunch of flashes, fades, fancy editing ... Oh, and always a loud crunch that signifies that the person has fallen victim. We occasionally see the victim begin oozing a black liquid but that's about it. Personally, I have no problem with the lack of gore, but the confusing manner in which the majority of these scenes are staged, combined with the complete lack of tension, renders the very thing the film's horror element hinges on ineffective.
And that's what Warriors of Terra is - that's all that Warriors of Terra is: a bunch of boring characters wandering about a facility and getting picked off one-by-one by an even more uninteresting mutant girl with little backstory and even less motivation. Other than the scientist daddy going down below to try and save both his daughter and his "experiment" while a corporate crony atop makes plans to deal with the escaped mutation by filling the whole place with lethal nerve gas, the proceedings are as predictably clichéd as you could possibly imagine for a film of this type.
There is one inexplicable thing. For no particular reason whatsoever, Maya undergoes a physical transformation just in time for the third act. All of sudden she pops up on the screen looking like a scalier version of Regan from The Exorcist. No logical reason why. She just does.
Warriors of Terra is a film that's too competently made and its production values too slick to find any schlock value to it. Even the acting, which is often not so hot, isn't even bad enough to elicit any unintentional humor. This is the sort of serious horror movie that either had to work or would be a complete failure, and unfortunately, Warriors of Terra is a complete failure. And it's so boring that if I had not committed myself to watching this thing to then end I'd have shut if off after about the first 25 minutes and never looked back. In retrospect, I wouldn't have missed anything if I had.
0 out of 5
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