More bone-chilling than the similar British chiller, SANITARIUM (2001), this pharmaceutically-oriented sci-fi tale makes one want to re-read all the warning labels in the medicine chest.
English teacher Jim Harper (Stephen Tomkinson), enamored of Rochelle (Lydzia Englert) – the older sister of a student -- crashes the medical conference Rochelle is attending at a secluded Alpine research facility and soon regrets straying from his cozy niche at the International School in Gstaad, Switzerland. Naive Jim has no inkling that CEO Rochelle heads a multi-national corporation that's been testing mind-bending drugs on unwitting subjects in Chechnya, Russia. Wit ha cold eye on quarterly profits, Rochelle has skipped the appropriate precautionary trials to refine Mentizone, which she bills as “Prozac for the soul.” Before Rochelle can shoo Jim out the door, her handlers apprehend him and then inject him with the experimental drug. Jim discovers that just a single dose enables him to share the pain of other patients, and though he manages to escape to England, his physician, Dr. Franks (Michael
Bertenshaw), dismisses Jim's talk of corporate medical conspiracies. Of course, Dr. Franks, along with Jim’s English friends, are all employed by Rochelle’s company. When Frank’s assistant, Linda McKay (Maria Lennon), defects, she winds up a Mentizone-injected casualty. Although Rochelle’s Russian liaison warns her about side effects from the experimental “empathetic” medicine, Rochelle simply
finds new guinea pigs at an English psychiatric ward. Once administered, the drug’s potency increases exponentially. If one test subject bleeds, a wound manifests itself on all the others. Managing to elude Rochelle’s thugs, Jim crashes her P.R. launch, but though he takes drastic steps to discredit the wonder drug in front of Rochelle’s backers, it may already be too late for Linda.
Writer-director Steven Gallagher transferred his own novel to the screen and both streamlined its plot intelligently and exhibits genuine cinematic flair. Frissons are dispensed regularly, as sole crusader defies a conglomerate undisturbed by the human cost of its research.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1998
- Rating: NR
- Review: More bone-chilling than the similar British chiller, SANITARIUM (2001), this pharmaceutically-oriented sci-fi tale makes one want to re-read all the warning labels in the medicine chest. English teacher Jim Harper (Stephen Tomkinson), enamored of Rochel… (more)