Reviewed by Steve Crow
Rating: 8 Beans
ave you seen Arachnophobia? No? Then go out and watch it. Why? Two reasons: first of all, you'll get to watch a decent movie. Second of all, once you do you won't have to watch this movie, which is a rip-off of it.
Okay, there are a few plot differences between the two movies, so let's cover them. An older couple (Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat) and Anne Lockhart (such classics as Battlestar Galactica and Troll)) and their daughter Shannon (the attractive Katherine Heigl: Valentine, Under Siege 2) move out into the woods to buy a small hotel/resort. They've picked the wrong week to avoid bad movie cliches, however, since a series of worms/roaches/mosquitos have decided to infest the area.
If that's not enough (and it is!), Shannon is attracted to the local bad boy Steve, who in turn is being preyed upon by local bad girl Veronica. The local sheriff (James Doohan!) is buying up devalued real estate because of the mysterious deaths. And the local male deputy and female entomologist are on the track of the bugs, with the aid of Dr.Fujimoto (George Takei! who apparently likes talking to his bugs a lot more then to William Shatner).
But to top it all off, we have Randy Quaid as General S. Merlin, a demented "bug buster" and retired military man who uses his military expertise to take out insect pests. Mr. Quaid is an interesting actor: he can often times give a direct, hard-hitting performance in straight, dramatic movies. Unfortunately, both he and a number of casting directors seem to think he's a broad comedic talent, so we get him in movies like the Vacation series and Independence Day. Unfortunately, he's not very funny at this, and Bug Buster proves this once more. His character seems to be a combination of John Goodman's exterminator from Arachnophobia, and Wile E. Coyote. Quaid manages to steal every scene he's in, but with this flick it's like taking candy from a baby.
In any case, not a single "killer bug" cliche is missed here. Lots of people get eaten, including Shannon's parents (during a middle-aged sex scene of sorts - ugh!). The sheriff is kind of helping the bugs which mutate due to pesticide: if he were disguised as a giant bug, you'd think it was a Scooby Doo episode. And quite frankly, if he were dressed as a giant bug he wouldn't look much worse then the puppet they turn loose on James Doohan when the sheriff gets his comeuppance near the end of the movie. Incredible Low Budget Alert! The CGI of the queen is a little better, now that Renaissance Pictures have perfected the art of low-budget CGI monsters (i.e., any given Hercules or Xena episode).
There's a final "twist" surprise ending (it's neither very twisty or surprising) and everyone who typically lives in these flicks lives, and everyone who doesn't dies. In any case, I'd recommend this flick if you want to see embarrassing performances by ex-Star Trek actors (although they apparently couldn't get Marina Sirtis!) and a 90's remake of all the good old 50's giant bug cliches.
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