For his feature debut, The Millennium Bug, writer/director Kenneth Cran imagines that Something Actually Happened besides a world’s collective “whew!”
Taking place on Dec. 31, 1999 (natch), the movie follows the Haskin family, whose three members head for the mountains in order to escape the panic and presumed riots. Instead, the happy campers find trouble in the form of another clan: the Crawfords. They’re incestuous hillbillies (again, natch) looking not unlike the Wrong Turn villains, and searchin’ for a bride — a bill for which the Haskins’ young daughter (Christine Haeberman, Chillerama) fits.
In the midst of this modern-day Hatfields-vs.-McCoys tale, one big ol’ bug crashes the party. Really big. And it’s the best thing about the movie, but not quite good enough to merit a recommendation. The Crawfords’ wacky dialogue does not work, running counter to The Millennium Bug‘s established tone. While the other half of the cast plays it straight, this one approaches it like a skit from Hee Haw.
And Lord, do I hate Hee Haw.
But again, the monster effects are impressive for such a small-budgeted indie. I applaud Cran’s decision to pay homage to the creature features of yore by going practical and in-camera. That deserves a salute in these unimaginative CGI times.
Good-sport points go to Ginger Pullman (Chillerama) for what kind of amounts to a human/insect sex scene. I wonder how long she needed to shower afterward to remove all traces of that goop. —Rod Lott