Sunday, October 3, 2010

International Millenial Trash: Plankton

Given that the theme of this week is Weird Monsters, it's only fitting that the first film is from Italy.  This is the same country that brought us post-apocalyptic killer rats, zombies that throw railroad spikes through people's hands and a film where people get molested by Nazi ghosts.  Unlike those films I just mentioned, this one was not made in the 1980s.  However, it does still look like it was.  Bad production values or intentional joke- you decide!  One thing that's great about this movie is the fact that they are clearly trying to hide the fact that it's foreign.  In fact, the film's lone Special Feature of note is an interview with the Director.  It's done in English, but it's more broken than a Ford Pinto!  Nice try, guys!  The film tells the tale of some 'teens' that end up on a boat where weird experiments were going on.  Apparently, it all relates to killer fish, radioactive plankton and some of the worst CG shots you've ever seen.  They make the obvious CG doubles from Daredevil look like something made by ILM!  Will this film succeed where those other films didn't or just provide more evidence that the Italian Renaissance was a fluke?  Get out your plankton cocaine for my review of...
Oh yeah, I should note that Plankton is one of the film's two different titles.  I guess they looked the more generic title for the actual film.  We get a pre-credits scene showing our heroes (three ladies and two guys) going off in a boat.  They mock one guy for being 'cheeky' and almost leave him behind.  Ha ha- it's funny because he'd be stuck!  After some generic city shots and a title card explaining to us that this is Miami, Florida (yeah, right), we cut to the people out in the ocean.  So the point of that city establishing stuff was what exactly?  Immediately, they are floating adrift because they ran out of gas for their boat's motor.  Why am I getting Open Water 2 flashbacks?  Thankfully my instincts are wrong as they eventually 'stumble' across a yacht floating adrift.  Hey, maybe it's got those two idiots from Open Water 2 on it.  Nope.  Instead, it's pretty much empty, save for signs of previous life on board, some food and, oh yeah, a bio-chemistry lab.  It's full of fish, samples of stuff and giant microscopes.  In one unintentionally funny bit, the guy recognizes a giant electron microscope because he 'studied Biology in College.'  The next line comes from one of the women: 'That's a refrigerator.'  Yes, you must have 'studied Cooking in College.'  Sadly, that line doesn't make it into the movie.  Anyways, when they find nobody around, they decide to get drunk and eat all of the food.  During all of this, a POV shot monster wanders around, but does nothing.
Eventually, the people figure out that some weird shit was going on.  Gee, could it be related to all of the POV death shown before you arrived or maybe, just maybe, the dead body that floated towards your boat earlier?  I dunno!  Our hero- who looks like an Italian Andy Samberg- figures out that the people were doing weird experiments on fish.  This becomes pretty clear when a badly-inserted shot of a fish attacks the group.  Oh my God, my Big-Mouthed Bass has got Rabies!  If you ever wanted to see a fight scene that looked like a broken Wii game, this is your movie!  After battling the non-real fish, our hero tends to his fiancee's neck wound.  Gee, this won't come back to haunt you later.  Immediately following this, the man has an heroic freak-out when he realizes the obvious truth about the creatures on-board.  This results in him smashing the the numerous glass contrainers holding the samples.  It's eerily reminiscent of the 'this is your brain on drugs' commercial.  Take note of how he nearly maims his male friend during this whole thing too.  As Stewie once said 'Yeah, that was a reasonable reaction to that.'  As we learn, part of the rage came from the fact that his lady is pregnant.  You're not going where I think you're going, are you film?  While one of the generic blonds goes to sleep, the other goes off to see the jerk guy and have sex with him.  Unfortunately for her, he turns into a fish monster in mid-coitus due to inhaling some 'plankton cocaine' earlier.  It's pretty much what it is.  Oh yeah, that POV monster continues to wander around and do nothing.
Our dumb-ass heroes actually manage to be fooled for a bit by the man.  Yes, he turned human for like three seconds, so you must have just imagined seeing a giant fish monster!  He attacks the fiancee via a tentacle coming up through the sink...somehow before he's stopped.  When he's revealed fully, our heroes flee with the blond.  However, she begins to mutate due to being infected via her 'Lady GaGa.'  Grabbing the non-descript scientist- who was so important that I forgot to even mention him earlier- the trio run away.  However, our hero stops to light a bunch of fires in the bottom of the boat to kill everything on board.  It's there that he meets a humanoid fish monster...that is not really explained.  It's also a very obvious claymation double filling in for a CG creation.  Dario Argento introduced CG into Italian cinema with 1994's The Stendhaal Syndrome, but I guess you were too cheap to use it in 2000.  He manages to get away- since they had no budget for them actually fighting- and they flee for their lives.  Unfortunately, the humanoid monster got ahead of them...somehow, so the scientist sacrifices his life to slow it down.  As they near the exit, the fiancee stops, explaining that she is infected from the bite earlier.  Rather than hurting him, she takes the spear gun and 'Bangkok Dangerous'' herself.  Our saddened hero flees into the water and swims away, only to be killed by the POV monster.  That's why you were here, huh?
This movie sucks- big surprise!  The story is silly, barely finding time to explain itself along the way.  Even if it did, I don't care about these characters in the sligthest.  They try a little bit, but it's not enough.  As far as the action goes, there is very little.  After some early POV stuff, we pretty much get nothing until the fish scene.  I guess the weird hallucinations are supposed to suffice, huh?  What litle we get looks, well, terrible.  The way they stuck in the fish for the 'fight' scene really does look like some of the early demos of people playing Wii games where they fend off ninjas or something.  The rest of it is model and claymation work.  That was acceptable in Deadly Spawn, but that was made over a decade earlier!  The biggest problem is related to the low production values and just overall cheap look of the film.  Given that, I'm never sure if the look is meant to be ironic a la Grindhouse or is just that shitty.  If this review ever makes it to the director, be sure to let me know.  Can I recommend this film?  To the most hardcore of goofy horror/monster films, yes.  To any self-respecting moviegoer, no.  It had potential, but really failed to reach it.
Up next, a recent horror film delves into Hammer territory with a tale involving a Banshee.  Will the exclamation points in the title prove to be ironic?  Stay tuned...


  1. As truly terrible as this film is -- and it is -- I cant ever truly hate on it, too many trashy boobies and ridiculous gore. Plus, that talking boat needs to be mine.

  2. That face on the boat thing was damn creepy! I almost wish that it could have been the real monster of the film.

    Instead, we get that crappy monster pulled right out of a Clay Fighter game. Seriously- a claymation stand-in for a monster effect in the year 2000? It's not the '60s and you're not Ray Harryhausen!

    Seriously, could that P.O.V. monster have been more pointless to the film? He just wanders around until the damn finale!