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DVD Review: Bottom Feeder

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Towards the end of Bottom Feeder, Vince Stoker (Tom Sizemore) seizes a ringing phone from a government agent. On the other end is Charles Deaver (Richard Fitzpatrick). He is trapped inside his limousine, under attack by a disgruntled lab experiment with a voracious appetite.

Charles wants help, and being a billionaire, screams he’ll give Stoker $1 million if he save his life. Realizing an opportunity, Stoker throws out a $50 million offer. They bicker back and forth as the creature begins breaking into the limo. Negotiations fail, and Stoker is only flustered because he didn’t get the deal he wanted.

If all of Bottom Feeder was that witty and entertaining, this could have been a great piece of B-movie filmmaking. Unfortunately, it’s not, bogged by a plot that involves drug companies, the government, a street bum, a doctor turned into a rat monster, city workers, and an underground tunnel system.

Put that mess of ideas together and you have yourself a creature feature, one in which a prominent scientist is turned into a man-like rat in an abandoned tunnel system somewhere in Michigan. His new drug, one that can regenerate cells, has some side effects… specifically some the government is interested in.

Director Randy Daudlin is a make-up effects artist, so credit is due for using a man-in-a-suit as opposed to bargain basement CG to create the monster. Unfortunately, in full light, it doesn’t hold up, and the design doesn’t invoke fear. The thing looks dopey. It would have been perfect for a completely campy horror movie, but too much of Bottom Feeder is played straight. That’s when the obvious budget limitations begin crumbling the entertainment value.

The ending isn’t particularly clear either, but at least you get to see Tom Sizemore wandering around sewer-like tunnels and over dead bodies to get there. That has to be worth something.

Despite the heavy artifacting, Bottom Feeder looks okay on DVD. Noise is prevalent in any scene in which the black levels don’t hold (nearly all of them), but the contrast is fine. Sharpness is maintained relatively well, and detail is decent if unspectacular. Color is strong and nicely saturated, especially in the early scenes outdoors in the park.

Bottom Feeder wants to impress with its heavy amount of positional audio, and that’s fine. Gunfire is loud and hits every channel. Positional dialogue is noted. However, this is rarely accurate, with gunfire coming in the surround channels despite the characters obviously shooting a different direction. Sometimes, the sound is delayed for a split second, further killing accuracy. Dialogue is also significantly quieter and bass is light.

A making-of runs close to a half hour, but only gets there because it is padded heavily with footage from the movie itself. It is a shame too, because a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff is worth watching. Some trailers make up the last of the extras.

Tom Sizemore was filming Bottom Feeder while another crew taped his reality show, Shooting Sizemore. The latter followed his exploits on the set, including when he walked off the movie after two days, but eventually joined back in.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.