Poppycock and Bunkum

February 8th, 2007

Deadly Swarm [2003]

Posted by sidebog7 in Review, Bugs

Directed by: Paul Andresen

Starring: Shane Brolly, Kaarina Aufranc, John Patrick McCormack, Pepe Serna

There are two types of ‘bug’ movie:

  1. The cheap generic ‘killer swarm’ type film with new faces and possibly a famous face slumming it in the twilight of their career.
  2. The expensive all-star bee film which is terrible but you can’t help but watch with a constant look of ‘oh my god how the hell did this cast get assembled for such a bad film and why can I not look away’.

This is obviously not The Swarm so therefore falls into the first category.

The star of this film is Shane Brolly who you might remember from Underworld where he played the vampire leader Kraven. In this film he stars as an entomologist who, whilst researching mosquitoes in a small town in Mexico, discovers a wasps nest with particularly nasty occupants. He tries to get the town to cancel its festival (like that ever works) to prevent an attack and generally attempts to uncover the secrets of the wasps.

Swarm Festival


The wasps have been given the name ‘Black Fire’ and are of great interest to a group headed by Dr. Schroeder played by John Patrick McCormack (General Wendall in The West Wing). We learn that they are obviously completely evil within the first few minutes when we see Schroeder threaten some ‘Indians’ to find the location of the wasps.

We are introduced to the female interest in this movie when a journalist played by Kaarina Aufranc follows the truck containing the wasps.

In my opinion bug films need several things to succeed:

  1. A cast that is not afraid to be slightly over-the-top. Large characters based on obvious stereotypes. If the film is too subtle then you are no longer interested in the bugs.
  2. Decent special effects. This is split into two, the bugs themselves and the effect of the bugs. It is OK not seeing the bugs as long as there are some gurning faces looking scared/quizzical. However if we see the bugs they shouldn’t look like someone has just splattered ink at the film cell.
  3. A reasonable running time.

This film has some success. The characters are all fairly obvious and the Mexican setting allows for the police chief to utter my favourite Spanish word ‘Vámonos’ (and also ‘ándale’). You don’t really care about the woman but she is pretty enough. Shane Brolly does quite well to hold the whole thing together.

The effects however are not good. The make-up effects are OK but the wasps are the aforementioned specks on the film and not remotely convincing. Seeing people react and knowing that they are swatting at nothing makes it a whole load funnier though.

Swarm Death

It burns

The film definitely doesn’t outstay its welcome (as film reviewers like to say). It is only 81 minutes before the credits roll and it keeps up the pace throughout.

The film was directed by music video director Paul Andresen who’s direction is perfuntory. The music contains some interesting sections but is generally average.  There are some intriguing instruments and sounds and the orchestration is generally good and quite overpowering at times.  The music is composed by Neal Acree who also scored mutant snake film Venomous and the opening music for World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. The cinematography which is sometimes quite interesting is by Hitcher II DP George Mooradian.

Good Points
Interesting, if slightly predictable plot.
Mad, tin-foil hat wearing loon ‘cries wolf’.

Bad Points
Female character is not really utilised.
Bad CGI(?) bugs.

Available from Amazon as part of a Creature Feature triple bill.

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