The Millennium Bug (2011)
Here’s a film I was following for quite a while when it suddenly seemed to disappear off the radar. THE MILLENNIUM BUG caught my attention back in 2012 due to its title and cover art. The film takes place on December 31, 1999 and plays off the Y2K hysteria that rocked the world. If you’re too young to remember, Y2K was a supposed computer bug that when January 1, 2000 came around would pretty much end the world. Due to some kind of glitch, “experts,” preppers, and other survivalists predicted that the Y2K bug would make all the electronics in the world go bonkers. Missile silos would launch nuclear ICBMs and anything else run by a computer would lead to the end of humanity in a SkyNet-like apocalyptic scenario. Humanity once again persevered and is still going strong, and the only thing Y2K did was make some doomsday writers rich off the fears of the uninformed. Remember, humanity will destroy the world in their own time!!
The title, THE MILLENNIUM BUG, plays off this hysteria. As the film opens we meet the Haskin family as they’re driving up to a remote part of the woods to get away from all the Y2K hysteria in the civilized world. Byron Haskin (Jon Briddell), the father, wants to take his family up to an old abandoned ghost town his granddad told him about. Along for the ride is Byron’s new, young bride Joany (Jessica Simons), and his daughter from his first marriage, Clarissa (Christine Haeberman). If you think heading up to a secluded part of the woods is a bad idea, then you’ve been paying attention. But what lives up in the secluded parts of the woods in this film? Is it masked killers, pissed off Sasquatches, inbred families? In THE MILLENNIUM BUG we get an inbred, hillbilly family that is wading around in such a shallow gene pool that their toes are barely wet. The inbred Crawford family hasn’t had a normal birth in so long that the bloodline is in danger of dying out. Most of the babies born are so retarded and physically deformed that the patriarch of the Crawford clan, Billa (John Charles Meyer), takes them from the womb and puts a bullet in their deformed asses.
The Crawford clan is a colorful group of people. There’s Uncle Hibby (Trek Loneman), who enjoys carving wooden penises out of wooden blocks; Granny Willow (Sandi Steinberg), who seems to the be brains of the family (yikes!); Billa, who protects the family from outsiders; and Fij and Rip Crawford (Adam Brooks and Ben Seton, respectively), two batshit-crazy borderline retarded family members who like to run around killing and torturing strangers. The family kidnaps the Haskin’s and are excited because Billa can finally marry someone he’s not related to and introduce some new blood in the family (literally). As if this isn’t creepy enough, old Uncle Hibby has taken a liking to Joany and seizes every opportunity to use his wooden phallic carvings on her. Blech!!
Also in the mix is crypt-zoologist, Dr. Patterson (Ken MacFarlane), who is tracking one of the most elusive creatures on the earth: The Millennium Bug. It’s called this because it takes a thousand years for the creature to mature … and damn if it isn’t a big ass creature!! Patterson has been tracking this bug all his professional life and believes he has finally stumbled upon it.
The plot here is pretty fun. We get your standard “murderous-inbred hillbilly family in the woods film” meets the giant creature genre. The two mash up pretty well. The acting is also above average for an indie flick. Everyone puts in good performances and no one stands out as being particularly bad. The actual millennium bug design is pretty damn cool looking and we get better and better views of it as the film progresses. When it gets to the point of actually attacking shit and crushing houses and other structures, THE MILLENNIUM BUG employs the use of miniatures with a man (Benjamin Watts) in a creature costume. The effects aren’t always successful, but they will remind you of some of the cheesier moments from old-school GODZILLA flicks.
The storyline of the actual bug and it’s mythos is the real star of this film and I wish writer-director Kenneth Cran spent more time on the creature. The inbred Crawfords are fun, but there’s nothing about them that’s original or fresh. You know the old saying: If you’ve seen one pack of murderous inbred hillbilly psychos, then you’ve seen a dozen packs of murderous inbred hillbilly psychos. Okay, maybe that’s something I just say at my house.
My two biggest complaints with this film are that many of the outside nighttime shots were very difficult to see, and the film felt as though it dragged quite a bit. We get the typical story elements of the Crawford’s torturing the Haskin’s family and it all just went on for too long. It all began to feel a lot like padding for the film. There were many times during this film that I thought to myself that THE MILLENNIUM BUG would’ve made a great short film and that there just wasn’t enough material there to be a feature length flick. But I stuck it out and was glad I did. The last thirty minutes of the film is super fun and the millennium bug finally shows itself off and attacks the Crawfords and the Haskins. The ghost town is destroyed and people are horribly killed. Good stuff.
THE MILLENNIUM BUG won’t be the greatest giant creature film you’ll ever see. There’s lighting problems, not all of the f/x are successful, and the film dragged a bit in the middle. But there’s also enough here that I found myself enjoying this film. The acting is good from the entire cast and the actual millennium bug design is kick ass. You could do a lot worse!! Check this one out.
Director: Kenneth Cran (& writer, editor, & production, art, and set director)
Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer