Sunday, October 02, 2011

Bio-Slime and Putting Indie Horror into (Gooey) Context: A Movie Review

*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by director John Lechago.

Director/writer: John Lechago.

Producers: Vincent Bilancio and Tai Chan Ngo.

This reviewer knows John Lechago mostly from his excellent directing work on Killjoy 3. This was a film with a lot of imagination, putting characters in a hellish, but fun world. This film starred Victoria De Mare and Al Burke. Both of these actors also star in Lechago's latest called Bio-Slime. Previously called Contagion, Bio-Slime has been referred to as a blob movie: "a decent blob movie" (Monster). This reviewer would simply call it a B-movie, or a film likely to see a DVD release and made for under a million. Bio-Slime's budget was much lower than this with much of the finances dedicated to special effects artist Tom Devlin's creations. The appearance of porn stars Gia Paloma and Roxi Devill are merely a distraction from more shots of this brackish creation.

The restrictive elements of the film's budget keep the film primarily in one room or a series of three rooms. There is not much wiggle room or choices to be made with a 50K budget. Director Lechago has made a personal appeal that this film be reviewed based on others in the low budget field: "I am asking that the film be judged in context." And this reviewer, based on budget, would compare the film to others like Stephen J. Hadden's Bio-Dead or Brink DVD's Necrosis. Bio-Dead is the best of the three, but here Lechago writes and directs his first feature with his own funds and you have to give credit to such an ambitious filmmaker.

However, the film does not really entertain and the reliance on nudity and gore takes away from the characters and the journey with them. Tom Devlin's (Silent Night, Zombie Night) are truly remarkable; yet, more time needed to be spent on developing the sentient side of this dark gooey force. This floating tar thing had more to offer than just a few lines. And its appeal to pleasure could have been given more time to develop a central message within the film. Most of the lines are spent coming up with a plan to get out of a four walled apartment. This reviewer was rooting for them to escape too, but there is another hour and half to go before that happens.

In the meantime, a briefcase is tampered with that has released a biological weapon. Apparently this weapon, really a pool of goo, has been around for awhile, absorbing the unwary or those stupid enough to crawl through a shaft. You know it is in there right? There are also few subplots as well with Troy (Vinnie Bilancio) a struggling artist slash alcoholic. He has a crush (understandably) on Mary (Victoria De Mare). And that is about it, cue the bloodshed and the stringy tar.

Really the major highlight of the film is on the creature and on what Devlin can create visually. The music from Michael Sean Colin is also enjoyable, but Lechago's script does not have room for experimentation due to the limits of the setting. To stay with he comparisons of other indie films, Bio-Dead had a lot more psychology than what is seen here. Lechago's Bio-Slime also had more compelling acting than Jason Robert Stephen's Necrosis. Sorry Tiffany; we still love you over here at 28DLA. Lechago uses his influence in Los Angleles to recruit some quality actors, minus a nude porn star or two. Is pseudo humping even acting? However, Necrosis still brought the film outside during a few night shoots. Here, the film is just too confining in the small indoor set.

The creature has many forms. It changes from a liquid goo to human form and into a monstrous being. These blackish sequences are the most intriguing to watch, because they are so original to view. When it is just the actors, there is some repetition and some actors even laugh at the absurdity of it all. This reviewer was incited to laughter during the first bum shot this critic has seen. One woman's butt just gets bigger and bigger until it fills the screen and the frame fades to black. You have to give it to Lechago for taking a chance or two in the directing department. This reviewer is laughing again at this film shot.

In the end, this reviewer wrote down, at least five times: "this movie is so bad." Only those who follow indie films will enjoy this, or fans of blob type films will find some entertainment here. This B-movie fan has seen several better films in the indie genre including Lechago's Killjoy 3 or 2008's Evilution. You can sometimes make a good film on a budget. Sadly, this film is not one of those because of the small budget available to Lechago and his small film Bio-Slime.

Writing/story/characters: 7 (lots of characters here, some have less purpose than others).
Acting/believability/interpretation: 7 (Victoria De Mare is impressive as always, Vinnie Bilancio is also good, some of the minor characters have already been forgotten).
Setting/directing techniques: 5 (there is very little to do with a film shaft, a hallway and a small room or two).

Overall: 5.66 (only for a select few).

*currently without distribution.

**the final word will go to Lechago, who put so much work into this film: "to call it a microbudget film would be generous. This is a movie where I called in all of my favors...I want my audience to understand where this movie is coming from. What I wished to accomplish is a movie that would make fans of the indie horror genre happy" (Lechago).

A second, more positive review of this film at Rubber Monster (Jocke Andersson):

Bio-Slime's Homepage

The film's trailer can be found here:

Bio-Slime's Homepage

Comparable (Bio-Dead):

Bio-Dead on DVD at Amazon

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