I'm just going to get this out of the way first. Yes, the main hero in this movie's name is Kirk, and he's a captain in the army. So yes. they refer to him throughout the picture as "Captain Kirk". Now, to me, that's HILARIOUS. i had to rewind the movie just to make sure i wasn't hearing things. And there was even an officer named "O'Brien" later on in the movie. I'm shocked that the monster's name wasn't "Riker". But enough of the good stuff, let's dive into "Panic".
This movie is another on our awesome 50 chilling classics collection at number 26. Now i took a two week break at the halfway mark, and coming back, i'm not so sure WHY i came back. OK, if you looked at the top, i gave this movie a 2. So what's the big problem with this movie you may ask? One word. PACING. This movie's pacing is TERRIBLE. this 90 minute movie has a plot that could either have been resolved in 15 minutes but it also had the plot to stage an entire 90 minute movie if they did it correctly. Sadly, here, they did not. It's really sad when i understand more of the movie from reading the one paragraph DVD sleeve in my Box set, but that seems to be happening more and more with these movies. And this movie is no exception. on the DVD sleeve it says "A British research scientist is working with various forms of bacteria when he is accidentally exposed to a deadly variety due to a lab accident." OK. there are 3 problems with that sentence. 1. This movie is Italian, not British. But all the actors are dubbed British so they put in stock pictures of England. Why? I'm not sure. 2. No, i did not accidentally type "Variety" instead of "Virus" That is what actually was printed on my DVD sleeve. and 3. IT NEVER SHOWS YOU THAT IN THE MOVIE. in the film it starts out with some rats fighting in a lab, a guy grabs his face and that's it. i had NO idea what happened. and honestly, i STILL have no idea what happened.
Like i said though. This movie is S-L-O-W. it takes forever to make any point and while the movie has a relatively high body count, all kills are offscreen and in the dark. and they quickly cut away from any sort of interesting nudity. pff. this considers itself a monster mash film? There's at least 3 times in the movie where they could have stopped this monster dude but then...they didn't for some reason? and that just gives them an excuse to have lengthy scenes of them talking. um. yay? I really had to pull out the DS during this movie. it was more than i could do to pay HALF attention to it let alone ALL my attention. But i gave it a good go. i gave it 45 minutes of my undivided attention and there was so little going on i realized that i could do at least 2 more things at once and still know exactly what was going on. and you know what? i was right.
The ending is extremely abrupt with no time for an epilogue and the final scene just makes NO sense. i'm not going to give the ending away but i will say 5 words. "Fire extinguisher? What the crap?" With pacing that could bore Ben Stein, characters that are less enjoyable then a Disney channel sitcom line-up, and an ending more predictable than the ending to "The Village", Panic gets 2 melty faces, out of 10
Reviewed by Red-Barracuda2 / 10
Dreary Italian sci-fi-horror
This has to rank as one of the poorest Italian genre pictures that I have sat through. It's about a virus that turns a scientist into a rotting homicidal maniac, leading to government plans to bomb the town where he is at large. Really, this is a disappointment, seeing as even Z-Grade Italian products usually succeed in at least being entertaining. Sadly Panic is not one of those films. It's pacing is awful, as it drags on and on with little development or plot structure. And to add insult to injury, there's really no tension or scares either. Another bugbear for me is the fact that this one is set in the UK, despite being an Italian production. Many Italian genre films do this but it's rarely convincing and was clearly done in an attempt to appeal to the Anglo-American market. But, frankly, sun-kissed Italian locations are just more preferable to me, so this factor just makes things even more dreary.
Logic isn't a defining feature of Italian movies in general and this one is no exception. Quite why the government come to the decision to obliterate the town off the face of the planet because of the presence of a lone toxic madman is really never fully explained. Neither are the events at the beginning of the movie where the virus breaks out detailed clearly at all. A swat team is called in and we briefly see a scientist with his hands over his face covered in green goo. And that's it. It's rubbish and incomprehensible. Admittedly it seemed obvious that the version I saw was cut of violence and nudity, which hardly helped, but really that would only account for a small amount of missing material. Ultimately, the film is wrapped up in a seriously underwhelming manner too.
Panic does not come recommended. It's just so shoddily put together and it's unlikely to impress too many people. The only point of interest in it is that the lead character is called Captain Kirk without even a hint of irony.
Reviewed by bababear2 / 10
Incoherent and Untidy
I hesitate to criticize foreign films too harshly because what we see is a dubbed version that has undergone who knows what changes in coming to an American audience. But compared to the way that films by Fulci and Argento have such power despite the translation process, PANIC is simply a mess.
This is the kind of movie that a first year film student should have been able to make. This isn't complicated and doesn't require a lot of sophistication from writers or the director.
There's a lab in England doing medical research. Something goes terribly wrong and there's an awful accident. One of the scientists disappears. We find that he's mutated into a horrible monster that avoids the light...not so much because he's photosensitive as that the makeup isn't really all that convincing when seen in full light.
The hero investigates with the help of a beautiful blonde scientist who has a really bad perm. We have the setpieces of the monster attacking various people. First, predictably, a couple smooching in their car. A woman in the shower. The audience at a cinema (the monster comes bursting through the screen, a rather nice touch). A priest and a group of children in a church. A drunk stumbling down the street. A family in their home.
We know these people are going to be attacked by the monster because, with the exception of the family in the last attack- the father is involved with the research project- they have no connection with the story other than being potential monster chow. We at least see the children and the priest in one scene prior to their being chased by the monster. The others are simply dropped into the narative for no purpose other than being chased and possibly caught by the monster.
Since there seems to be no way to stop the monster (which is carrying an awful disease) the military decrees that if the situation isn't contained by a certain time, the town will be destroyed.
OK. I could write this. So could most people reading this review.
What kills PANIC is that it's dull and unexciting. When a director can't wring any suspense from the plight of a group of small children locked in a church while a priest tries to find a way to save them, it's time to go into a new line of work.
There's no sense of urgency. The military rolls into town and cuts off communication with the outside world for days but this happens in a vacuum. The hero returns to the cinema and is attacked by the monster. The local police come in with guns blazing. The monster vanishes around a corner and nobody seems in a hurry to catch him.
People in the town make halfhearted attempts at getting out but they must not have any relatives or friends in other places. There's unconvincing talk of a "military exercise" but this goes on for days and we don't see anyone wondering why they can't contact anyone in this town. Today a town of any size being cut off would attract an army of reporters at the barricades within hours.
Continuity is, at best, peculiar. We meet the priest at rehearsal for the children's choir. He gives them candy and tells them to be careful on the way home. We expect the next scene to show us one or more children in danger, but we don't see them again for days. There's a guinea pig that's escaped from the lab, too. It's found in a sewer. People are like "how remarkable" and "dang, look at that" but it's never mentioned again.
There's a subplot about a series of tunnels supposedly built by the Romans that connect the cinema, the church, the house where the family is attacked and other sites but that's introduced and dropped. The American horror film THE BOOGENS made effective use of monsters that terrorized a town where mining had been the main industry. The subplot is mentioned then dropped, as if the writers just didn't know what to do with it. Pity.
The most fun in this is watching the Spanish and Italian actors pretending to be British (all dubbed, of course) and the director trying to convince us that the stock footage of England is a match for the city streets we see. Too many of the actors just don't look British, especially the soldiers.
The leading man is from New Zealand. The blonde lady scientist is from Sweden. Were there two people on the set who spoke the same language? I hope so.
This was in the CHILLING CLASSICS collection from Mill Creek. The picture quality was adequate, the sound less so. The IMDb didn't tell me the original picture ratio. This is full screen, and often action at the edges of the screen is lost. If this was originally in Panavision ration (1:2.35) it should have been letter-boxed. The closing titles would indicate that this was the intended screen ratio. Of course distributors of DVD's are limited to what they can get their hands on.
It's not in me to call people "bad" actors (something other reviewers in this page have made a point of because of a comment made by the leading man that leaves this avenue wide open. I've done enough acting and directing on stage to know that you've got to consider the material and how strongly directed the actor is. These folks seem to have been largely left to their own devices. At the end of every scene you can imagine the actors saying, "Well, that's over. Let's go get some coffee." Francis Ford Coppola said that if there is no passion, there is no art. The director of PANIC has no visible passion for the project, so I didn't see any art.