If a movie like The Battery has taught me nothing else, it’s that low-budget filmmaking, even micro-budget filmmaking, can be glorious. It can also be a quagmire that sucks you into its murky embrace until no light remains. Somewhere in between Bio-Slime lies.
The set-up is pretty standard fare. Some ne’er-do-wells inhabiting a rundown building find themselves besieged by a slime creature that may or may not be some sort of biological experiment conducted by the government. Among them are the alcoholic artist Troy (Vinnie Bilancio), actresses from the porn movie shooting upstairs, Mary (Victoria De Mare) and Annie (Gia Paloma), Troy’s buddy Hal (Ronnie Lewis), drug entrepreneur Jack (Magic J. Ellingson), mail-order bride Constanza (Micol Bartolucci) and runaway abused girlfriend Shannon (Kelli Kaye). The movie does a good job with creating a fun bunch to bounce off one another when the slime goes down, which, to Bio-Slime‘s credit, happens fairly quickly.
Essentially, Troy opens a briefcase stolen from a lab somewhere that has made its way into his building, thanks to a theft gone bad, and some of the titular bio-slime escapes, though it doesn’t have a taste for Troy because of his booze-infused blood. This would be more clever if I hadn’t seen the far-superior Grabbers before seeing this movie, but it still works well enough.
A bunch of people get slimed and consumed by the growing, oozy presence in the building, and I was honestly surprised by how good some of the effects work in this movie turned out. The dripping, whipping tentacles, the slime crawling up the walls, it all looks fairly convincing. Writer-director John Lechago is clearly inspired by Carpenter’s The Thing, even paraphrasing one of that films best moments, but I find that begging a comparison to that classic is a losing battle. It really only serves to remind how much more I would have preferred to have been watching that film.
As with any affair of this budget, the acting can be dodgy, and Vinnie Bilancio in the lead is a tough sell as an actor, but I’ve seen far worse. The big problem is dialog that disposes of characters very quickly and doesn’t bother to paint much of a picture of them beyond the frames of the film. The characters say and do the things the movie needs them to say and do, but there’s not much life in these roles. I suppose that’s not the point of a movie like this, but it would have made for a more interesting watch, to be sure. Also, the behavior of the characters in the last act is head-scratchingly stupid, tossing around some loose science and making the characters engage in behavior that is simultaneously trite and thick-headed.
While most of the slime effects are good, and one bisection of a slime-infected victim is particularly impressive, there are some dodgy computer effects and the lighting throughout is pretty bad, overblown and not timed down. It gives the movie a cheap look throughout that a better camera might have resolved, or, perhaps, simply better timing in post.
Between the spotty acting, choppy editing and amateurish camera work, it’s hard to recommend a film like Bio-Slime. And yet, the heart is in the right place on this one. It’s a tough sit in places, and the resolution is, frankly, very dumb, but if you’re a body horror fan like myself, it does manage to scratch that itch, but that’s damning the movie with faint praise. If you want to see something better, and I do recommend that, check out The Fly from Cronenberg’s oeuvre, or even the movie Bio-Slime most wants to be when it grows up, The Thing.