Hive, The (2015)
Starring Gabriel Basso, Jacob Zachar, Kathryn Prescott
Directed by Dave Yarovesky
The Hive may have one of the most unoriginal titles ever – just try finding information about the movie online, and you’ll stumble over a myriad of flicks about killer bees and old press releases about the Halle Berry thriller (which was later re-titled The Call). Fortunately the film is a bit more inventive than its name.
The site of the horrific happenings is – where else? – a summer camp. Adam (Gabriel Basso) and Clark (Jacob Zachar) are counselors at Camp Yellowjacket. The BFFs like to do all the usual things young guys like to do: party, chase tail, and avoid responsibility.
One sultry evening when Adam takes a new conquest named Katie (Kathryn Prescott) to his favorite seduction spot at the camp, the couple witnesses a plane crashing into a mountain range in the distance. But the explosion is awfully big… could it really be just a plain old plane? Adam and Katie find Clark and his girlfriend, Jess (Gabrielle Walsh), and tell them about the frightening fireball. The foursome drive to the crash site, where they’re promptly exposed to some kind of mystery virus that turns human beings into rotting, oozing, puking, puss-puffed meat bags.
But there’s more! As the counselors’ corneas go cloudy and their brains putrefy, somehow they can still function, think, and remember things… but as our hero Adam soon discovers, all those memories are not his own. (This bit reminded me of the Netflix series “Sense8” and was just about as confounding.) As the movie flicks back and forth in time, something to do with a doctor (Sean Gunn) and the revival of a Cold War Russian groupthink experiment teases out hints as to how and why this virus is so aggressive.
There’s a Memento throwback feel to The Hive. Adam’s amnesia forces him to write reminders about everything – even his own name – all over the walls and furniture of the room in which he’s barricaded; there’s also, if not a back-to-front storyline, a non-linear time-hop throughout the proceedings.
The Hive is directed by music video veteran Dave Yarovesky. Electro house musician Steve Aoki serves as not only the composer but also an executive producer. Hence, the movie is constantly flooded with bombastic, epilepsy-inducing flashes of light, visual quakes, and quick cutting techniques that feel like vintage MTV stuck in a spinning disco ball. At least it’s not found footage, but I, personally, would have appreciated a break from the never-ending sensory overload once in a while. My taste leans toward less is more, so right off the bat – when Adam barfs up a barrage of black vomit – I was put off by the excessive use of gooey, gory special effects.
The Hive is not my kind of horror. Having said that, I can see how fans of the gross-out genre and extreme midnight movies will enjoy it. The actors are good (especially Walsh, who was one of my favorites in last year’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), the story sails right along at a brisk clip that’s just right for its 89-minute running time, and there’s even a romantic subplot. You can’t say The Hive is run-of-the-mill.