What’s a Production Budget? – Toxin (2015)

A movie that’s destined to be played at 2 AM on the Syfy channel.  So this is about a pharmaceutical company, working to develop a vaccine.  Of course, the only way to perfect this is to treat people with the disease, so they infect an isolated house full of people in the middle of nowhere.  This is one of the cheapest made films I’ve seen in some time.  While it can be admirable to make a movie with a bare bones budget, you have to realize the limitations of trying to do more with less.  You shouldn’t try to have special effects if you can’t afford it, you should write your way around it.  For example, if you can’t afford to go to an airport to film a plane landing, you shouldn’t settle for the cheapest CGI plane out there, you should just cut to the character getting into a car.

kidsWhile I couldn’t find any screenshots with examples, please believe me when I say that there are screensavers with better looking special effects than this movie.

The two big names tied to this are Vinnie Jones and Danny Glover.  Neither of them have a whole lot to do, nor do they do anything that would require much more than a weekend’s worth of filming.  It’s really all of these kids in the house that you spend all of your time with, and they are all green actors that don’t really show any promise, and I don’t suspect we will hear from any of them ever again.  Nobody in here gives a committed performance, and as a result, it never completely holds your attention, as you never get to the point where you care what happens next.  The symptoms for this made up disease are incredibly inconsistent, so much that the effects vary to differing degrees within the same scene, i.e. killing one person, while another walks away with no ill side effects with the same exact exposure while standing right next to the dying person.  It really is on par with Syfy original features, but you could probably deduce that from the plot description alone.

gloverWhen you say “Syfy movie”, this and natural disasters involving sharks are what immediately come to mind.

Any budget that they had was clearly spent on paying Glover and Jones.  It’s hilariously inexpensive for what it attempts to do, and for that, I suppose that you could watch this ironically if you really wanted to appeal to your hipster sensibilities.  I would love to give this a “watch with friends and beer” recommendation… but I can’t.  There’s really nothing here that makes this worthwhile, and laughing at poorly conceived special effects can only take you so far.  It feels overly long even for an 80-minute runtime, and while it didn’t make me mad or anything, there’s just so little to say about it other than the low production values, which is already a negative.

Toxin (2015) *

– Critic for Hire


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