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Artisan Home Entertainment presents

Deadly Invasion (1995)

"Oh God, Chad... How many times have you been stung?"- Karen Ingram (Nancy Stafford)

Stars: Robert Hays, Nancy Stafford, Ryan Philippe, Dennis Christopher
Other Stars: Gina Philips, Gregory Gordon, Danielle von Zemeck, Thom Dillon
Director: Rockne S. O'Bannon

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Bee violence)
Run Time: 01h:25m:48s
Release Date: 2003-08-19
Genre: horror

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-BB- C

 

DVD Review

Best known as a screen writer, Rockne S. O'Bannon has penned teleplays for Twilight Zone, Alien Nation, SeaQuest DSV and most recently was the creator and writer of Farscape. Made in the early 1990s, Deadly Invasion is only his second (and last) turn at directing. The film is a lot of fun despite the pitfalls of the topic, a killer bee invasion.

Beginning with a pseudo-documentary tale of the spread of killer African bees from South America to the continental United States, we are told that the following "could" be a true story. Things quickly move into the small town of Blossom Meadow, California, where bees are a part of the economy. In the tradition of The Birds and countless other nature-gone-wild stories, Blossom Meadow finds itself with several occurrences on its hands that are difficult to explain. First, the appearance of several state officials putting up traps for the killer bees, and then the sudden stinging deaths of two teenagers who had been making out in a car on the interstate.

The story focuses on one family's struggle against the relentless invaders. The father, Chad Ingram, played by Robert Hays in a competent dramatic turn by the actor best known as Ted Striker from the Airplane! films. Nancy Stafford, the perky mom, Karen, portrayed Andy Griffith's partner, attorney Michelle Thomas, for six years on Matlock. The two actors bring a humor and touching quality to what could certainly be one dimensional characters.

Ryan Philippe, who plays bad boy neighbor, Tom Redman, portrayed one of the first openly gay teenage characters on a daytime serial with his performance as troubled Billy Douglas on One Life to Live, and has gone on to such films as Crimson Tide, White Squall, Cruel Intentions and Gosford Park. Dennis Christopher adds some humor in a character role as a wacked-out bee expert, Pruitt Taylor Beauchamp. In town to investigate the attack, he tells some of the smug residents what they are in for when the killer bees descend. After getting stung by a bee, Beauchamp remarks that it "beats the hell out of cup of coffee for keeping you alert."

Deadly Invasion is not an award winner by any stretch of the imagination, but it is competently made and has a decent amount of suspense and tension. The formula is a tried-and-true, but when implemented by professionals who can add just enough extra, it is a good one. There are some odd bits of discontinuity and logic breaks, but the story is fast moving and it is easy to gloss right by those. The end credits are fun with bee-perspective flyovers of the countryside followed by an eerie final shot of a killer bee.

Perhaps worth a rental for fans of the genre.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The full-frame image transfer is fine and doesn't take the film far out of its television origin. Nice job on maintaining the feel of a faux documentary. The picturesque town of Blossom Meadow never looked better.

Image Transfer Grade: B
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Good quality transfer to Dolby 2.0 sound. There is no muffling and the bee sound effects are quite menacing, especially in the Ingram house.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras to be found on this low-budget disc.

Extras Grade: C
 

Final Comments

Killer bees rampage in Deadly Invasion, which is a professional little horror flick directed by Rockne S. O'Bannon and starring Robert Hays and Ryan Philippe. Lots of fun.

Jesse Shanks 2004-01-22