Black Swarm: Subpar Creature Feature
Dir. David Winning (2007)
A mom and her daughter move to a small town that has recently been infested by a killer swarm of super wasps.
I am not a fan of wasps. Really, any flying insects with a stinger. I don't mean they give me the heebie jeebies, or that they make my skin crawl. I mean I run and scream like a little girl when they're around. I've only been stung twice (that I can recall), but they just absolutely terrify me. The only reason that I can ascertain is that it all goes back to a recurring nightmare I had when I was a kid. I dreamed that someone came into my bedroom at night with a chainsaw (I'm pretty sure it was Jason Voorhees), and he would chase me into my backyard through a window by my bed. I would run away from him, and try to climb into a tree by my swingset. I would run up this pile of wood right beside the tree, trying to reach the lowest branch, but the wood would shift underneath my feet, and roll out from under me. Living within this wood pile was a horrible swarm of wasps, who would fly out and immediately sting me to death. I had this dream repeatedly when I was a child, like once or twice a week. It scared me so bad that I carried that innate terror to today, and I'm reminded of it every time I have one chase me while I'm outside. Bees, wasps, hornets, horseflies... doesn't matter a bit. This movie made all of my fears look silly. Anyways, so there's a swarm of giant wasps, but the wasps are not the actual bad guys in this movie. I mean, they are, but not like they would usually be in a monster movie, like Anaconda, or Them! They sting people, and then control them for the mother hive. That's right: motherfucking zombies. Again.
Seriously, have we not milked this enough already? Is there a plot that hasn't had zombies added to it yet? The major difference in this movie is that, throughout most of its runtime, the townspeople who are being overrun by zombie wasp victims don't notice, like, at all. There's just a large group of people stumbling throughout the town, and people just kinda walk right by them like they're not there, which is a perfect representation of our culture you guys! The mom is a police officer, moving to town with her daughter after the death of her husband, and his twin brother runs a pest control company in the town. He's just getting ready to move out, when her appearance (and the wasps, of course) draws him back in. Apparently, he used to be engaged to her, and she ran out on their wedding to marry her brother (which is way fucking harsher than anybody in this movie seems to believe. Seriously, that's terrible.) Well, of course it turns out that the little girl is actually his daughter and not his brother's, which is handled almost as an afterthought, as if revealing this will make for a great scene of drama that is almost immediately forgotten as they fight off the wasps and the shadowy government agency that seeks to control them (because of course there's a shadowy government agency that seeks to control them). As if revealing that the little girl is his daughter is going to make him want to save her more, like he was just going to tell her to fuck off if it was some random kid who belonged to someone he used to date. Although, after not showing up for their wedding, I wouldn't have blamed him one bit. The only really good part about this film is Robert Englund, who happens to live on this town's version of Elm Street (haha, get it!?!). He livens up every movie he's in, and plays it just as cheesy as he should. His character is more than just a cameo, as he's the kinda/sorta bad guy throughout most of the movie. And that's fantastic, because he's literally the only reason to watch any of this, and he's in it until the very end.
(Much) Longer than it should've been) story short, Robert Englund is a government sponsored scientist who is trying to make wasps into a biological weapon, controlled by a dog whistle thing he carries with him, and the whistle stopped working, so they run rampant throughout the town, stinging everyone to undeath. The little girl's grandmother is a blind lady, and she literally, in every single conversation, references being blind. Like, every single one. Something like "Oh, if my eyes worked, you'd be a sight for them!" or "You look just like your mother, or so I'd say if I wasn't blind!" Shit like that. Obviously, this is a made-for-TV movie, so maybe they figured the dark glasses weren't enough of a giveaway for people just tuning in after a commercial break. She sucked, easily the least enjoyable part of the movie.
But, honestly? All in all it wasn't that bad. I was intrigued when I saw the Maneater series, as I'm almost always down for a good monster movie, and this one wasn't enough to turn me off. However, the previews beforehand certainly were. Those movies looked terrible. So, of course, if I find them somewhere, it's my duty to watch them and review them for you folks. I'm just not looking forward to it. This movie kinda sucks too, because obviously, but it's not nearly as bad as it should be. It's obviously a B-movie, with most of its budget being spent on Englund, and the rest buying an iPhone to download an app that can create the special effects used in the film. But hey, B-movies are B-movies, and this one belongs with all the rest.
Bottom Line: Watch it if you love B-movies, monster movies, or just standard Scifi channel stuff. This movie was a lot better when it was Arachnaphobia. 1.5 out of 5 stars (Robert Englund by himself is worth a whole star)