Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

‘Bottom Feeder’ is getting a little more public notice than your average Direct-To-Video mutant monster movie because its star, Tom Sizemore, a homeboy from around these parts by the way, is the corner pieces of the VH-1 reality series ‘Shooting Sizemore’ in which they follow my man around whilst he constructs and destructs himself in front of a nation.  I’ve never seen the show by the way, and as a general rule, I don’t watch reality television with the rare exception of the occasional episode of ‘Fear Factor’.  Women with big breasts eating worms? Who wouldn’t want to watch that?  Apparently though, during the shooting of this relatively low budget, north of the border horror flick, Mr. Sizemore became disgruntled, and quit the production but obviously returned to finish out his obligation which is a good thing.  Tom Sizemore is an extremely gifted, but very tortured cat who can literally sleepwalk through a role and bring more to it than a large number of sober, professionally trained thespians could ever do.  ‘Bottom Feeder’ is no exception as Mr. Sizemore raises the level of what could have been a silly, subpar snorer too something I actually found pretty darned entertaining.

Sizemore plays Vince Stoker, a simple maintenance man with a crew of three that consist of his number one Otis (Martin Roach), slacker dude Callum (Joe Dinicol), and Vince’s niece Sam (Amber Cull) who is on her first day on the job.  Vince and Otis like to make a little side loot liberating a few items from an old abandoned hospital they clean up and sell these unused items to some unnamed recipient for pennies on the dollar.

On the other end of the economic spectrum is charred billionaire Charles Deaver (Charles Fitzpatrick) who has commissioned  geneticist Nathaniel Leach (James Binkley) to create a serum that will theoretically regenerate Deaver’s burnt up skin, along with regenerating other previously un-regenerative tissues such as spinal columns, and brain cells.  Damn good technology right there.  If it works.  In return, Leach gets a boatload of cash and some sort of unknown help for his stage five lukemiatic wife.  Is lukemiatic even a word?  It is now.  According to Leach the serum should work, but it is required that one takes the special protein peptide he’s created after an injection or the regenerative process will run rampant and cause serious mutations, on top of creating an insatiable hunger, causing the drug recipient to eat ANYTHING.  Feeling it now, aren’t you?

Well, just to make sure his investment will work as advertised, Deaver has his evil feminine enforcer Miranda Krendal (Wendy Anderson) beat the hell out the geneticist, pump him full of bullets, inject him with the serum and throw him in the tunnels under the abandoned hospital.  If it works, he’ll be fine the next morning, if not, he’ll be dead.  Oh, they forgot to give him the peptide solution and soon Leach transforms into six foot, invincible, self-regenerating, cannibalistic rat-beast, running around in tunnels, hunting down our maintenance crew, as well as Deaver’s henchmen.

‘Bottom Feeder’ kind of reminded me of Sizemore’s previous monster movie, 1997’s ‘The Relic’, albeit with about 1\100th of the budget, with the transformed beast having a jones for human flesh, hunting down poor defenseless saps.  To that effect, I suppose, ‘Bottom Feeder’ will probably remind you of a bunch of movies, but it is not without its charms.  First time director Randy Daudlin, who has spent most of his career as a makeup artist, does the most with what he’s given to work with.  The photography is very good with the underground tunnels having just the right atmosphere of unsettling and impending doom, The makeup effects and gore effects are pretty darned brutal with plenty of beheadings, severings and eviscerations.  The rat beast is a very well realized creature and the acting, led by Sizemore, is more than credible.  There was a lot of humor in Daudlins’ above average script, in particular, a very funny scene between Vince and Deaver where Vince was negotiating with Deaver the terms of saving his life while the rat-beast was beating his way inside Deavers’ limo.  Priceless. 

As you can see, I liked ‘Bottom Feeder’.  It wasn’t perfect by any stretch, as it lacked any real originality, or inventiveness in its narrative, and probably dips into the whole evil ‘gub-ment’ angle too often, but it did have some clever dialog is spots, and showed what can be done with a little imagination and few resources.  Plus it had Tom Sizemore in it, and having not only an accomplished actor, but a ‘good’ accomplished actor in your production, be he stoned or not, is always a good thing.  Here’s hoping Mr. Sizemore can exercise those demons and stick around for a little \longer so we can witness his gift a little bit more.

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