Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Swarmed

It’s been over 30 years since Jaws found its way onto movie screens, and yet, people in small towns continue to have public events in the midst of a genetically altered wasp invasion. History has obviously taught them nothing. If you decide to close beaches because of a shark, why do these town leaders continually put their own people in the path of certain death? It makes the scripts writers job easier, duh.

Swarmed joins the ranks of about 50 or so movies dealing with an insect invasion. It’s not bees this time. They have the night off. This time, altered towards their aggressive side, a group of wasps wreaks havoc in a small town about to have a burger cook-off. The chances of having a meat-eating wasp invasion on the same day must have been astronomical, yet these poor folk fall victim to that very scenario.

Given the inherent danger of the situation and the rapidly growing body count, the cast remains small. Michael Shanks leads the offensive against his own creation during the testing of a new pesticide. To say that new chemical failed miserably would be an understatement. It takes the efforts of only a few people to bring down the horde of insects, which hardly makes them seem menacing, even after they’ve taken shots at any towns people in their way.

As expected, the bugs are CG for the most part, intercut with shots of real wasps. It’s nice to see the animators not taking themselves seriously, bringing out a bunch of wild camera angles and viewpoints to give the film a campy feel. Though they look unnatural, but it adds to the goofy charm of the movie. When they grow in numbers and appear in a swarm, the effects fail miserably.

Paul Ziller directs this one, the same man who gave us The Snakehead Terror in 2004. As in that fish-on-a-rampage flick, Swarmed never tries to dig deep into explanations or science. It’s all about getting the critters on screen and wiping out a population. Amidst that is abysmal and hilarious dialogue that sounds like it’s coming from a child.

The obvious admittance that this is never meant to be taken seriously or original pulls Swarmed from the barrel bottom most Sci-Fi Saturday night “entertainment” ends up. It’s goofy, derivative, and cheap. When it’s over (and assuming you know the genre), it’s hard not to be at least slightly entertained.

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