Diving right into the realm of camp, Basilisk is played quick and cheesy straight through its 90-minute run time. Human characters are generic, clichéd and predictable. That’s all done on purpose, and unfortunately, clashes with the creature scenes.
While sending this into comedy is probably proper given the general absurdity of it all, Basilisk looks great. For the first time, a Sci-Fi Channel original has produced a mildly believable computer generated beastie. Brought to life with some decent animation and attention to lighting, this is as close to perfect as a low budget direct-to-cable movie can get.
An eclipse starts the small reign of terror by bringing the monster to life, uncovered by a couple of scientists on a dig. The opening sequence depicts the ancient creatures first run at humans around 200 BC, but also completely ruins the finale by giving the audience a predictable way to finish the Basilisk off. If that’s the worst script problem in a movie like this, then you’re halfway to a success.
Movie fans will enjoy a brief role by Animal House star Stephen Furst, wildly over-the-top with his own sense of comedic timing. The rest of the cast follows the same path, carried by a script that allows them to have an off day and still pull it off. There’s an absolute classic exchange of dialogue between three Dungeouns & Dragons players that nearly makes the entire movie worthwhile.
First time director Louie Myman isn’t going to take home any awards, but stays away from typical issues that plague these cheaper efforts such as keeping the creature out of view. The Basilisk received ample screen time.
Basilisk manages to surprise with a decent sense of scale, including a scene of mass panic inside a mall. While the beast is contained inside a building until the finale, the number of victims munched on outside of the main cast is out of the ordinary. Some memorable gore highlights the brief rampages.
While the Basilisk design is a solid one, it still carries B-movie carelessness on its back. It seems to randomly change in scale to suit the scene, at times dwarfing people, and other times shrinking itself when in close for dramatic effect. The creature also has a spit attack that resembles something along the lines of, well, water being sprayed on the cast with a hose.
Of course, you’re expected to go in ready to use you’re imagination to fill in the pieces. Nothing here actually makes sense, and even with the effects being a step above the norm, you’re going to cringe from time to time. Still, for fans of low budget horror with a sense of humor about itself, Basilisk is dumb enough to work.