SCOURGE (2008) Review. [Netflix Watch Instantly]

Posted by Brian Knowles - September 10th 2009 @ 12:01 am

Written and Directed by Jonas Quastel, 2008


If a movie exceeds expectations by being exactly what it should be can I call that the TAKEN effect? If so, can I then say that I was TAKEN by SCOURGE? Hopefully that makes grammatical sense, because after being pleasantly surprised by my first two NWI picks, SCOURGE is exactly what I hoped it would be – a mildly amusing, extremely low-budget, and completely harmless creature feature akin to something I would’ve seen on the USA Network’s “Up All Night” fifteen years ago. Some originality would have been nice too, but let’s not get greedy, the movie did magically appear on my television through a videogame system after all.

SCOURGE begins in the late 19th century as a parasitic monster is terrorizing a small Canadian town. The creature is soon trapped by mysterious religious types in a jug of wine (obviously) in the basement of a CGI church. Over a hundred years later the CGI church is destroyed by CGI fire and, as a result, the parasite is set free into a fireman. The creature has a suspiciously similar effect on its hosts as the alien in SLITHER – it causes a hell of an appetite. However, instead of raw meat, the SCOURGE craves dairy products (is mayonnaise a dairy product?), and instead of it being an ongoing theme, it is (inexplicably) only the first victim that experiences this symptom.

In the hierarchy of evil parasitic worm-like tentacled monsters, the SCOURGE is pretty low on the ladder. Other than killing its former hosts (most of the time) the creature is rather innocuous: it doesn’t pose a threat to multiply, it can’t travel long distances outside of it host, and it’s powerless when placed in an alcoholic beverage. Throw the host in a beer vat and problem solved. I only wish the budget allowed for such extravagant sets.

Somehow, despite rarely making sense and featuring both the use of household cordless phones as cell phones and the trite search-through-the-town-archives-on-microfiche scene, SCOURGE amounts to something greater than a sum of its parts. The two leads (Nic Rhind and Robyn Ledoux) have genuine chemistry that livens up the scenes they share, and as a result, the movie is elevated as a whole. Also, there are two or three genuine laughs, a skateboarding scene, and special effects that are at least par with something like AVATAR.

Allow me to stress this: SCOURGE is not a well-made film. It is written and directed by the guy who made SASQUATCH and the plot mostly consists of blatant rip offs of better films. Regardless, there is a sincerity about it that suggests a nostalgia that camouflages its transgressions in a way a darker or more cynical film couldn’t muster. If you have a few beers hanging around and a couple friends on the way over, you could do much worse. Rhonda Shear most definitely would approve.

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rss 3 comments
  1. noahphex
    September 10th, 2009 | 7:26 am | #1

    Sounds like something I need to add to my queue for a late night Friday viewing. Nice shout outs to Up All Night. It’s a shame we don’t have something like that or Elvira or Joe Bob Briggs around anymore.

  2. adam charles
    September 10th, 2009 | 9:10 am | #2

    quit recommending stuff!

    Nice review. I mean as in polite. You’re a very polite writer.

  3. September 10th, 2009 | 9:26 am | #3

    I fear that when you guys watch this one you will no longer trust my recommendations.

    Adam, you are such a nice guy. I mean as in put together well. Your parts fit nicely.

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