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Biohazardous

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
2001
Studio: 
Eclectic
Genre: 
Zombie
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
Michael J. Hein
Cast: 
Sprague Grayden
David Garver
Tom Cahill
Movie: 
3
Extras: 
3
Bottom Line: 
3

 Biohazardous is the most ambitious low-budget horror film I've seen in years, and, believe me, I watch a good dozen or so micro-budget horror flicks a month. What separates Biohazardous from it's underfunded kin is the fact that it's director, Michael J. Hein, has avoided the "underground" horror aesthetic (excessive gore, nudity, dialogue, and the Dogme-by-necessity approach) by creating what can only be described as a truly mainstream zombie film on the cheap.
 
The plot of Biohazardous is a simple mish-mash of virtually every zombie cliche' in the book, with the lion's share of the nods going to the Resident Evil video game franchise. In a small, boring town, a laboratory is attracting a lot of negative attention from the local religeous right, led by Father Morris (Will Dunham). He suspects GenTech is performing "ungodly" experiments within it's well protected walls, and demands that they cease operation. The local kids, however, use the woods behind GenTech as a hangout, where they can drink beer, smoke pot and have sex, and occasionally get harrassed by the cops; who, incidentally, are just as curious about GenTech as Father Morris and his followers. When the nosey cops, religeous nuts and hormonally imbalanced teens all find themselves trapped in the facility, they discover that the scientists within the complex have been exposed to a chemical breach that has turned them all into bloodthirsty zombies.
 
Biohazardous won't win any awards for originality, but it should get some sort of prize for being a better Resident Evil movie than....well...Resident Evil!! Hein and cinematographer Bud Gardner, flood rooms with creepy, colourful lighting, block shots in with exagerated comic book style angles and perspectives, and generally create a fun environment for lots of zombies to lurch about and kill people in. The acting is well above average for the budget, with the very cute Sprague Grayden and gnarly Jon Avner both turning in very convincing performances. The make-up effects by Anthony Pepe and his crew are also quite impressive, with both classic Romero type zombies and Fulci style beasties sharing screentime as they inflict some pretty convincing damage on a rapidly dwindling number of protagonists.
 
The DVD from Eclectic features a very nice transfer of the film in faux letterbox, with a rousing commentary by what is apparently every member of the crew. While group commentaries usually lose their focus after the first few minutes, this one's actually quite funny and informative. The DVD also features some behind the scenes photos, presented in a slide-show format.
 
Biohazardous is a tremendously entertaining zombie flick that is as polished as a film costing a hundred times as much as what these fellas had to work with. Sure, there are some gaffes, and GenTech looks more like a nursing home than a top-secret lab, but the quality acting and visual style more than make up for any budgetary shortcomings.

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