Critics Consensus

Despite its great special effects, this movie's predictability greatly undermines its intensity.



Total Count: 48


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,131
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Movie Info

When the salvage tug Sea Star is caught unprepared in a violent storm, it slowly sinks, and the crew, led by Captain Everton (Donald Sutherland), wander upon another ship for refuge. The ship, apparently deserted, turns out to be a Russian research vessel loaded with high-tech electronics. The Sea Star crew, which includes hot-head Kelly "Kit" Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Steve Baker (William Baldwin), soon find that they are not alone, and they also learn the horrible fate of the original crew. The ship had taken on an energy-based alien life-form capable of constructing bodies out of human tissue as easily as electronic parts. The life-form wants to inhabit the planet earth but first must rid the world of the virus that infects it and could kill it -- man. John Bruno, special effects supervisor on Terminator 2 tries to reinvent the haunted house sub-genre in his directorial debut, much as Ridley Scott did in Alien.


Critic Reviews for Virus

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (43)

  • Your average winter cold follows a less predictable course.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • Until the diverting special effects take center stage, this story, about an alien intelligence that builds an army out of flesh and metal, pathetically exploits genre conventions without generating self-reference, camp, or thrills.

    Apr 25, 2007 | Full Review…
  • A derivative sci-fi shocker that isn't likely to spark much interest beyond its target audience of undemanding genre fans.

    Apr 25, 2007

    Joe Leydon

    Top Critic
  • While he can fling together a competent action or special effects sequence, his handling of the plot and actors is strictly routine.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Frankly, about 20 minutes into this dud, I was rooting for the alien beasties.

    Apr 25, 2003 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • An unpretentious, amusing thrill-a-minute sci-fi horror thriller / monster movie that plugs right into fears of a Y2K crisis.

    Feb 14, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Virus

  • Aug 28, 2010
    A vastly underrated sci-fi thriller with solid suspense a first-rate cast and superb visual effects, after a typhoon the crew of the American tugboat Sea Star has comes across an abandoned Russian research vessel floating dead on the water, after boarding the vessel they believe to be deserted they soon discover that they are not alone, first they find a terrified female survivor who explains to them that an alien entity has attacked the Russian space station Mir, which her ship was in contact with and then it beamed itself from the space station to her vessel to began taking over the ship's computer main frame, the merciless alien entity regards humanity as a virus which must be exterminated and It has created deadly bio-mechanical monstrosities out of the bodies of the Russian vessel's dead crew which are now hunting down the Sea Star's crew. Strong characterizations by a game cast led by Donald Sutherland in a superb turn as the captain of the Sea Star, who is experienced but sightly crazy, Jamie Lee Curtis delivers a first-rate performance as the virulent, no nonsense navigator and William Baldwin as the Sea Star's heroic engineer turns in a fine performance, solid supporting performances by Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell, Julio Oscar Mechoso and Sheman Augustus. Visual effects designer John Bruno makes an impressive directional debut with this film which is based on the Dark Horse comic book by Chuck Pfrarrer, excellent robotics design by Steve Johnson. An effectively eerie sci-fi film with unusual touches that is very enjoyable. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 11, 2009
    The Effects weren't the best, but they weren' the worst by any means. The acting was pretty good overall. The fun was just an added plus. Read the Dark Horse Comics for even more added fun. Every now and then its good to get something high in action, low in smartness, only if you don't do it all the time. (Longer Proper review to come ASAP)
    Joseph E Super Reviewer
  • May 11, 2009
    Virus is a 1999 science fiction-horror film directed by visual effects artist John Bruno and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland. The film is based on a Dark Horse comic book of the same name by Chuck Pfarrer. The film opens with the Russian space station Mir conducting a transmission with a research ship in the South Pacific, Akademik Vladislav Volkov. While the crew of both the space station and the ship converse, a large electrical storm from deep space strikes the Mir. The electrical surge hijacks the Mir's electronics and beams itself to Earth by entering the ship, disabling it in the process. The crew of Mir are apparently killed, while the large research vessel's crew suffer an unknown fate. Eight days later, during a typhoon, the tugboat Sea Star, captained by Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland), loses its uninsured cargo, which was the captain's last chance to get out of debt. Sea Star's crew, led by Kelly Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Steve Baker (William Baldwin) discover the tug taking on water in its engine room; Foster suggests to Everton that they take refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs. Everton agrees, but while Sea Star rests in calm waters, he puts a bullet in his pistol and contemplates committing suicide. At that time, the Akademik Vladislav Volkov appears on Sea Star's radar, and upon realizing that it could be worth many millions in salvage, Everton orders his crew aboard. All transmission equipment on the ship is destroyed and most wires are slashed; even more strangely, several areas of the ship are riddled with bullet holes, suggesting a struggle. However, no crew appear to be present, much to Everton's delight (as if any crew were surviving, his salvage would be worth much less than the $30 million he envisioned.) Everton orders Steve to go with another crewman, Squeaky (Julio Oscar Mechoso) and restore power to the ship so that it can be moved. They do so, but almost immediately, the ship's anchor drops seemingly on its own, sinking the Sea Star and wounding its deckhand Hiko (Cliff Curtis). Steve leaves Squeaky behind to guard the engine room but he is soon lured to his death by a strange, robotic, spider-like creature. Afterward, as Foster treats Hiko's injured leg in the ship's sick bay, a figure in a gas mask bursts out of one of the medical cabinets and fires a korpion vz. 61 at the crew. Baker subdues the figure and removes the gas mask to reveal Chief Science Officer Nadia Vinogradiya (Joanna Pacu?a), the sole survivor of the Russian ship's crew. Nadia rants hysterically about "it" needing power to travel through the ship, strikes Everton and attempts to wield an axe against Foster, but Foster succeeds in subduing her long enough for them to take her to the bridge. When Squeaky does not respond to Steve's calls, he sets out to check the engine room and orders his crewmates Richie Mason (Sherman Augustus) and J. W. Woods, Jr. (Marshall Bell), to come and help him. Richie and Woods, who were sent elsewhere in the ship prior, encounter another of the strange robots and soon find a fully automated workshop producing them. When Richie prods a newly-created machine creature, it shoots Woods with a nail gun, then the pair are attacked by what appears to be a gun-wielding Russian crew member. Eventually, Richie and Woods catch up with Steve, who has found the engine room abandoned with its door welded shut. They are suddenly attacked again by the Russian crewman, who is revealed to be a cyborg. As Richie and Woods lifted a stock of weaponry from the ship's munitions depot, the trio are able to battle the cyborg. At the bridge, Everton accuses Nadia of being the one who dropped the anchor and sank the Sea Star. He threatens to shoot her if she doesn't give him Squeaky's whereabouts, but realizing this makes no sense as Nadia was hiding in the sick bay, Foster stops him. Woods, Steve and Richie arrive with the apparently dead cyborg and display it on a table; beginning to connect the dots, Foster asks Nadia to tell them fully what happened. She explains that the electrical energy from the Mir boarded the ship eight days prior, and it was not just energy but a highly intelligent lifeform. It scanned all the data on the ship's computers in order to learn how to kill humans, then set about using the ship's machine shops - first, it built the smaller robots, the "gatherers". After that it began giving itself the body it lacked by killing the crew and converting them into cyborgs; the one that Sea Star's crew killed was Nadia's captain and husband Alexi. When the eye of the storm passes away from the ship and violent seas return, the crew decides over Everton's objections to find a way to destroy the creature. They head for the computer room but are ambushed by Squeaky, who has been converted into a cyborg, and also by a gigantic robot that kills Woods. The surviving crew flee into and barricade themselves inside a communications room where Richie manages to send out a mayday; however, Everton shoots out the communicator, unwilling to let anyone else in on his salvage. Foster punches Everton in the face and declares him removed from command. Richie comes up with an idea: the alien lifeform is electrical and inside the computers, so they can speak to it using a computer. It replies that it is "aware" when asked who it is, then declares that mankind is a species harmful to the body of the whole, a virus. When asked what it wants, it replies with various tissues and nerves - humanity is only useful for spare parts, which causes Richie to go insane. He brutally kills the cyborg Squeaky as it breaks into the room, then uses a grenade launcher to escape. Everton, who stayed behind in the communications room while the rest of his mutinous crew decided to go find the computer and sink it, realizes that the alien is interested in him. He uses the computer to tell the alien that he is the "dominant lifeform" and offers to help it reach any port it desires in exchange for the salvage. He is told to go to Workroom 14 on the E Deck. The crew finds the computer room empty with a number of the spider robots crawling around; the alien moved the computer elsewhere in the ship. Realizing that the ship is taking them somewhere, they struggle back to the bridge, but Hiko is blown overboard. Meanwhile, Everton enters the workshop and finds the robots mutilating and dissecting a number of men including Woods. Impressed with the alien's work, he bargains with it, and it asks him to help it survive. Foster identifies Lord Howe Island as the ship's destination. Steve realizes that the alien wishes to reach the island because of the British intelligence installation there, which would allow it to beam itself anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. The crew agree to sink the ship, but then a new cyborg appears in the room - made from a Russian sailor's torso, with Everton's disembodied head. Cyborg Everton attacks his crew, and the alien takes over his body to declare that there is "a whole world waiting out there". Nadia manages to kill Everton by using a thermite hand grenade, but the crew realizes time is running out. They decide to sink the ship by flooding the hold with fuel and detonating it. A bomb is placed in the hold as the crew empty all the fuel tanks. Foster and Steve run into Richie, who fled them earlier. Suddenly, the giant robot from earlier - named the "Goliath Machine" - appears and injures Richie. It captures Foster and tortures her so she will reveal where the bomb is. Richie reveals to Steve that he has prepared an escape route in the ship's missile room. Nadia and Steve manage to rescue Foster from the Goliath Machine and Nadia sacrifices herself to detonate another grenade at point blank range and kill the Goliath Machine, but the creature survives. As Foster and Steve make it out to safety, their escape device triggers an explosion which causes the ship to sink. Foster and Steve eventually get picked up by a helicopter.
    Martin D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2009
    This is a good sci fi horror flick. The scares are there and so is the action.
    Jason S Super Reviewer

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