Wednesday, January 27, 1999


Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 1999 at 12:00 AM

We’ve seen it all before: a Russian ghost ship looming ahead; a nightmarish storm; a crippled salvage tug approaching; a crew in desperate need of assistance. For a moment, in the midst of clumsy opening shots and choppy dialogue — as "abandon ship" sounds like a really good idea — we entertain the mad thought that this will get better, more exhilarating, even with a stolen plot line from Eco’s The Island of the Day Before in which a man is shipwrecked on a shipwreck and spends his days composing flowery prose: "Bereft of your gaze, I am blind for you see me not, dumb for you address me not, oblivious for you forget me."

But no. John Bruno’s Virus does not get better, despite the sweaty efforts of its cast. The Russian ship is not a floating book depository but the host of an intelligent energy force — fluent in Russian and English — which has found the perfect planet to inhabit. The planet has a small drawback, though: a virus called man.

"I think we as a race — humankind — have only the barest inkling of what’s out there," says producer Gale Ann Hurd. "I’m a firm believer that we are not alone, that life can take many different forms. In Virus, we postulate that there can be an electrical life form, and I don’t think that’s an outrageous possibility."

While Captain Everton (Donald Sutherland) tries to negotiate with "The Thing" — "Who are you?" "I am aware," it replies — Kit Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis), Nadia (Joanna Pacula) and Steve Baker (William Baldwin) try to destroy it. The rest of the crew — involuntary sidekicks or exotic others — disappear at regular intervals to be used as spare parts for the Creature’s biomechanoid body. Anything to make itself ambulatory is its motto, and it’s pretty damn serious about the project as it squashes brains and digs into viscera.

After all, it may look like all the Aliens glued together, but it also has a touch of the Borg, and that has taught it that resistance is futile and that being "a collective" is nothing to be ashamed of.

E-mail comments to


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Dayana Stetco

Read the Digital Print Issue

February 24, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation