This suspense flick combines elements of military paranoia thrillers and conventional science fiction pictures, leaving viewers to wonder who's scarier: poisonous snakes or generals with budget cuts hanging over their heads? In 1990, gene-splicing experiments involving reptiles fan the fears of foreign agents. To damage US bio-toxic experimentation, the saboteurs blow up the covert Pentagon facility, but some of the creepy crawlers escape. In the present day, the altered reptiles relocate to nearby Santa Mira Springs after a few minor earthquakes. Santa Mira residents soon begin suffering from convulsions, hemorrhagic fever and a quick demise. In a panic, E.R. doctor David Henning (Treat Williams) phones his ex-wife, Christine Edmonton (Mark Page Keller), a scientist in the Virology Center at the US Department of Defense. Alarmed by the unfamiliar virus sample Henning sends her, Edmonton confides in her superiors. Hoping to conceal military involvement in the botched 1990 experiments, they give her the runaround and label the epidemic an e-coli outbreak; Major General Sparks (Anthony Dennison) is perfectly willing to sacrifice innocent people to protect the military's reputation. Edmonton defiantly heads for Santa Mira Springs and begins working on an antidote, while Sparks concocts a worst-possible-case scenario in which the plague can't be contained and advises the President to authorize annihilating the entire town. Edmonton herself gets infected, and only Henning has the know-how to whip up the anti-venom serum in time. The question is whether Henning's efforts be sufficient to stop Sparks' insane drive to protect his reputation and ensure future defense spending. This creature feature borrows elements of OUTREAK (1995), SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964) and SSSSSSSS (1973). In its B-movie way, the production succeeds in shaking up fright fans; if it had only talked less and slithered more it might have been a small gem.
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