Thursday, August 18, 2011

Panic at Rock Island (2011)


Australia Goes Viral

I don't know why I was under the impression that this was a horror movie. Oh, right. It was labeled as one on IMDb. While the title Panic at Rock Island may sound like an episode of Scooby Doo or an epic surf rock anthem from the 60s, it's really nothing but a tawdry Aussie melodrama that revolves around a viral outbreak at a rock festival. With some tremendous overacting and plenty of stupid characters that don't seem to have the first idea how to prevent the spread of infection, this film may have your eyes bleeding long before those of the infected kids on Rock Island.

In the middle of the Sydney Harbour lies Rock Island where a massive all-day concert is set to take place. The film revolves around Quinn family, particularly the father, Jim, who is conveniently the new State of Emergency Director. After two friends discover a dying man in an underground tunnel that leads to Rock Island, they unintentionally bring the disease he was carrying with them to the concert. Soon, everybody is throwing up and bleeding from every hole imaginable and the island is locked down under quarantine. Jim, with the help of a researcher, a doctor, and some army guy, attempts to find an antidote for the Ebola-like virus before Rock Island becomes one massive grave.

She just finished examining a close-up of the script
I feel that I generally write better than this, but this film was so goddamned boring that it's hard to even attempt to write excitedly about it, even in a negative light. From the start, every character seems to be fucking mental. It seriously takes the movie about an hour before anyone even considers that wearing gloves and surgical masks might be a good idea when handling people who are projectile vomiting black blood and bleeding from their eyes. It's also worth mentioning that both Jim's daughter and son are on the island so this becomes personal for him. Refusing to let people do their job, his wife seriously hijacks a boat, jumps out, and swims to the island to find her kids and risk getting herself infected. Of course, everyone ends up A-OK and the ending is so ridiculously happy that I threw up a rainbow. I must also mention that about ten seconds before the screen fades to black for the end credits, Jim and another man give each other "the nod". This wouldn't be such a huge deal if the nod wasn't between a guy on an island and a guy in a fucking helicopter who is completely invisible from the ground. Still, if you're looking for lulz in a film ending, this one should keep you sated.


On the upside, there's blood aplenty. There's never actually a real threat in the film aside from the virus spreading. Nobody goes rabid-crazy and attacks others or mutates into the Nemesis or anything like that, which is unfortunate. But still, you get to see a shitload of people bleeding tremendously every few seconds and vomiting black goo into pans and buckets. There's also a brief female ass shot. I mean, it could be worse for a TV movie, right?

Overall, Panic at Rock Island is unintentionally schlocky, way too melodramatic, and ends way too easily to ever give the film a sense of danger or purpose. The biggest threat in the film is probably the incompetence on the part of every medical staff member present. If the characters you introduce in the first quarter of your film are too stupid to do their jobs believably, how is anyone going to take the rest of your film seriously?

1.5/5 Stars

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