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An experiment at the Hope Center, a top secret research plant in New Guinea,
goes terribly wrong when it turns out rats have infested the buildings most
sterile rooms - & they have a tendency to bite people to death. Problem is
though, they won't stay dead but come back as cannibalistic zombies.
It's not long before a quartet of top soldiers (Frank Garfield, José Gras,
Gaby Renom, Luis Fonoll) is sent to the center to investigate. When they cross
the jungle to get to the center though, they come across a group of reporters,
who are in the process of being decimated by the zombies until only 2 of them,
tv-presenter Lia (Margit Evelyn Newton) & comeraman Max (Selan Karay)
manage to survive, & the 2 decide to hook up with the soldiers, even though
they try to neatly cover up the plot behind the Hope Center the reporters are
trying so desperately to expose.
When they happen to come across a native village, though, the reporters
prove to be a great advantage to the soldiers, as Lia has once lived in that
jungle for years 6 is now one of the few white woman they would accept in their
nmidst - & for that reason she has to enter the village topless (!).
In the village though, our heroes find a picture of decay (helped by massive
use of spliced in stock footage), as inexplicable deaths & the first cases
of zombification have occured. However, it is not until nightfall, when our
heroes are partying with the natives, that the zombies attack full-scale. The
four soldiers plus Max & Lia manage to make an escape, the natives arn't
quite as lucky.
On their way to the Hope Center, our heroes are further attacked (&
decimated) by the zombies, and a conflict of interests between the soldiers
& the reporters does not make it any easier.
It is not until they are in the Center itself that the zombie attacks reach
full force ... & this time theya leave noone standing ...
As with many films by Bruno Mattei, here the gross-out gore effects are his
main interest (& selling point), a feeble story to hang the effects on
comes second, characters come third (at best). It is very much in this vein
that Mattei shows very little interest in let alone compassion for the
characters themselves, rather has them around to bump them off at a whim -
& gruesomely so -, so don't expect anything like character development here.
A few words about the stock footage: Though some of it is used to
make the New Guinea setting more believable (Virus was actually shot
entirely in Spain), most of it is just (for Western eyes) gross-out stuff of
native rituals that goes very much in tone with the rest of the movie.
All this makes the movie an easily hateable movie, but for the sheer
relentlessness of its method, it can also become something of a guilty
What put me off a little though was that the soldiers, after having been
told repeatedly that the zombies can only be killed by a shot in the head,
keep firing at their chests - to predictably no effect.
The music by Goblin by the way was not an original score but lifted from Dawn
of the Dead & Luigi Cozzi's Alien Contamination.