Virus (1999)

Virus (1999)

Taglines: Destroy or die.

When a typhoon cripples their boat, the crew sails into the eye of the storm, where they discover a high-tech Russian communications and research vessel adrift. Only one Russian crew member is still alive, raving about “intelligent lightning.” They soon discover that an alien life form has taken over the ship’s computers and is churning out mechanical warriors. With their own boat destroyed, the crew must battle the creature as the ship reenters the storm.

Virus is a 1999 American science fiction horror film directed by visual effects artist John Bruno and based on the comic book of the same name by Chuck Pfarrer. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland, it tells the story of a ship beset by a malevolent extraterrestrial entity that seeks to turn humanity into cyborg slaves. Virus was promoted with a line of action figures and a tie-in video game. It turned out to be a critical and commercial flop, but generally gained as a cult following.

About the Story

Akademik Vladislav Volkov, a Russian research vessel in the South Pacific, communicates with the orbiting space station Mir. A large energy source traveling through space strikes Mir, killing the cosmonauts and beaming itself down to Volkov. The electrical surge takes over the ship and attacks the crew.

Seven days later, the tugboat Sea Star, captained by alcoholic Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland), loses its uninsured cargo while sailing through a typhoon. Sea Star’s crew, led by navigator and ex-Navy officer Kelly Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) and engineer Steve Baker (William Baldwin), discover the engine room taking on water. When Sea Star takes refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs, Volkov appears on their radar. Realizing that it could be worth millions in salvage, Everton orders his crew aboard.

On Volkov, most of the electronics have been destroyed and the Russian crew are seemingly missing. Everton orders Steve to help fellow crewman, Squeaky (Julio Oscar Mechoso), restore power to the ship. Immediately afterward, the ship’s anchor drops on its own, sinking Sea Star with deckhand Hiko (Cliff Curtis) and first mate J.W. Woods, Jr. (Marshall Bell) on board. Steve leaves Squeaky to guard the engine room, where he is lured to his death by a robotic, spider-like creature. Steve rescues an injured Hiko, while Woods comes out unscathed.

As Foster treats Hiko in the sick bay, Chief Science Officer Nadia Vinogradova (Joanna Pacuła)—the sole surviving member of Volkov’s crew—shoots at the crew and is subdued by Steve. Nadia is hysterical about “it” needing power to travel through the ship and implores the crew to shut down the generators. She attacks Everton and Foster, who subdues her and takes her to the bridge. Steve, Woods, and crewman Richie Mason (Sherman Augustus) go to the engine room to look for Squeaky, but instead stumble upon an automated workshop producing more of the strange robots.

Virus Movie Poster (1999)

Virus (1999)

Directed by: John Bruno
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin, Joanna Pacuła, Marshall Bell, Sherman Augustus, Olga Rzhepetskaya-Retchin, Julio Oscar Mechoso
Screenplay by: Dennis Feldman, Chuck Pfarrer
Production Design by: Mayling Cheng
Cinematography by: David Eggby
Film Editing by: M. Scott Smith
Costume Design by: Deborah Everton
Set Decoration by: Donald Krafft
Art Direction by: Jaymes Hinkle, Robert J. Quinn, Donald B. Woodruff
Music by: Joel McNeely
MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi violence/gore, and for language.
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: January 15, 1999