Y2K: Shutdown Detected (1999)

y2k shutdown detected

“Hey, who youse callin’ short?”

The Scoop:1999 NR, Directed by John Gonzales, Trent Shumway and Slava Siederman

Tagline: No tagline.

Summary Capsule: Something bad happens at a science facility on the eve of Jan 1, 2000.

Justin’s rating: All films should be scored with synthesizers!

Justin’s review: Mutant Reviewers now presents Chapter 2 in “Independent Filmmakers Who Send Us Their Movies – For Free! – Thinking That We’ll Review Their Movie, Which Of Course We’ll Do, Since We’re Total Sellouts.” The film this time in question is a 22-minute short called Y2K: Shutdown Detected. I actually laughed as I pulled the tape out of the envelope, since the cover contained (1) A guy holding an axe, and (2) A zombie. All the elements that made Y2K so great!

The big problem with most small indie films falls into two categories: horrible acting (i.e. we just pulled someone off the street to scream into the camera for a few minutes) and a poor look and feel in general (i.e. I borrowed my brother’s camcorder, i.e. The Blair Witch Project). But, fortunately, here is a film almost entirely without dialogue, and it doesn’t look too bad at all.

The storyline, at least what I could discern, is that the Y2K bug causes some biotech lab to malfunction, trapping the employees and creating a lot of slime and a funky zombie. Most of the plot points are explained through security computer screens (“Alien Life Form Growing At Uncontrollable Rate”). After a little while, the survivors start to go on the offensive with various weaponry… and then it just ends with three minutes of “huh?” in some sort of corporate meeting trying to explain the previous developments.

With the frantic pacing, short length, and loud (yet kickin) soundtrack, it’s easy to think this is a music video with a lot of gore. Hey, I liked it. Wasn’t expecting to, but within the budget constraints, these filmmakers did a great job. The special effects are well-done, although they sometimes dip down into CheesyLand, you really can’t ever get enough black slime. There’s a metaphor in there for ex-girlfriends, I’m sure. There’s a lot of innovation here with camera angles and various perspectives (from a Predator-ish “Red Cam” to the aforementioned computer screens). Interesting fact: this film (which was originally intended to be a full-length feature, but had to be cut down after funding was lost) was shot for just $2,100. If you ever get a chance to see this knowing the extremely limited budget, you’d be totally amazed at how many special FX shots they threw in.

I’m not sure whether all this was intentional or not, but I really found Y2K to be hysterical. There’s some over-the-top acting (like a security guard who’s a little to friendly with his gun) and just some really great little moments that make it hard to take this film seriously as horror… but I think I enjoyed it more as a funny, special effects romp through someone’s psyche. And, hey, who ever was struck with terror with the words “Y2K?” Only my previous bomb shelter-happy employers.

I’d recommend Y2K to friends and small children roaming the streets. There’s always something fun about horror films where the good guys can be just a little bad… with axes and guns and static electricity.

Intermission!

  • Was made for only $2,400.
  • The effects for the blob monster was actually just a black plastic garbage bag covered in ultra-slime and operated by puppeteers on a green-screen mat.
  • The film was shot completely without sound. Voices, sound effects, etc. Were all added in post-production.
  • More monsters and special effects were planned originally, but the makers didn’t have time to create the animatronic and prosthetic effects needed.
  • There was a deleted concept in the script which had the mutant baby creatures escaping to the roof of the building and growing to massive proportions, then rampaging through crowded city streets.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • The Good Book
  • Evil Dead
  • The Blair Witch Project

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