Writer / director John Lechago’s film BIO SLIME (A.K.A. CONTAGION) opens with what looks like a drug deal gone bad. Donna’s (Monique La Barr) boyfriend kills the man who comes to buy the mysterious black briefcase he has acquired from parts unknown. The brief case doesn’t contain drugs though; it holds a hi-tech containment system for ‘something’ but before the dealer finds out what, he is killed violently by an unseen tentacled organism. Donna escapes with the briefcase and goes to see Jack (Magic J Ellingson).
Jack is a junkie who’s cooking meth in his roommate Troy’s (Vinnie Bilancio) apartment. The building is populated by a group of misfits: a porn film production team, Troy the artist (an alcoholic who is about to be evicted), the landlord and his Russian bride, and Troy’s niece Shannon (Kelli Kaye), come to escape her abusive boyfriend.
Being somewhat inebriated when he stumbles across the case, Troy decides it would be a good idea to open it and he inadvertently deactivates the containment system. Doing so allows an organism to begin growing. It latches onto Troy, but doesn’t infect him. Sensibly, Troy closes the case and runs. Donna’s curiosity finally gets the better of her and she too opens the case. Unfortunately for her, the organism does attack and absorbs her, growing larger. As the slime monster grows stronger, and smarter with each person it takes in, will anyone escape or will the creature destroy them all and move on to bigger game?
BIO SLIME is a good old-fashioned monster movie, and as such, the real star is the slime. A cross between “The Blob” and “The Thing” the monster shifts from being an amorphous mass to mimicking the people it absorbs. It also exhibits a degree of intelligence as it begins going after the motley crew trapped inside the apartment building. In the age of digital effects and CGI, many filmmakers would make a monster like this exclusively from CGI (the SyFy channel probably would). However, Lechago chose to use a solid blend of traditional effects, models, and presumably buckets of slime, to bring this monster to life. Special effects expert Tom Devlin (THE TREK) lends his considerable skills in this department.
Although borrowing from numerous other films, including a number of nods to John Carpenter’s THE THING, the film succeeds in being its own movie and not a rehash of other stories. While some of the acting was less than stellar, Vinnie Bilancio does a good job playing the alcoholic, starving artist Troy and Victoria De Mare makes her character, Mary, more than just a cutout, one-dimensional victim.
BIO SLIME is a surprisingly good independent monster movie. Devlin’s effects coupled with a plenty of action, gore, and an ample helping of gratuitous nudity make the film an enjoyable B-movie romp. So if you have the chance, check out John Lechago’s BIO SLIME and remember, if you open a briefcase that has a high tech bio-containment system in it…don’t turn it off!