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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 5.56%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 38.89%
Total Crap: 5.56%

1 review, 12 user ratings

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LD 50 Lethal Dose
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by Brian McKay

"Lethal Dose 50 percent? Wish they'd given me the full 100"
2 stars

As a critic, I find that picking films I want to see for a film festival is a crap shoot. Since most of the stuff has never been seen before, all you have to go by is the title, the promotional picture, and a very brief plot synopsis. What grabbed my attention about LD 50 (LETHAL DOSE) was the catchy (if slightly redundant) title, and the synopsis, which sounded a bit like a hybrid of 28 DAYS LATER and CUBE.

Alas, this film was nowhere near as good as either of those, and the title, which is the only real catchy aspect of the film, really has nothing to do with the story itself. The thing about low-budge UK horror flicks is that they are usually either outstanding, or recycled drivel. Could LD 50 have been salvaged? Yes, and without having to spend more money - except, perhaps, to hire better writers.

We are introduced to an animal rights activist (or terrorist) group calling themselves LD 50, which stands for the fifty percent of a lethal dose that researchers use in experiments on lab rabbits - or something like that. They're a rather generic group of Brits (the geeky computer guy, the smart Black chick, the overly-idealistic leader who won't hesitate to leave one of his guys behind for "the good of the group" (or rather, his own skin), etc. Then there's also the token Yanks, which include the obnoxious stoner whose catch phrases are about ten years out of date, and the ditzy blonde who later harnesses the powers of yoga to extricate herself from danger - in rather laughable ways, I might add.

After a raid on an animal testing lab goes awry, and one of their members gets stuck in a bear trap (don't ask), The rest leave him behind as the wail of sirens approaches. A year later, the group receives a coded message from their fallen comrade, which contains map coordinates and a plea for rescue. After picking up their latest recruit, an ex-marine with all of the stereotypical PTSD issues, they put on their fatigues, blow up their rubber raft, and make their raid across the river on the facility where their friend is being kept. Once inside, however, they find that the place has been abandoned - for several months, apparently. After taking an elevator ride to the lower levels, they suddenly find themselves trapped in a sprawling underground lab complex with the doors sealed shut behind them. Let the carnage begin . . . sort of.

Now, the film hadn't exactly been gripping up to that point. The characters were paper-thin, the dialogue insultingly cliched, and the premise mildly interesting at best. But once they get stuck underground, you the viewer can expect another 45 minutes of claustrophobic tedium that feels like 95. It's not scary. It's not intense. And only occasionally does it do something you think might be interesting, only for it to flounder back into the doldrums of sub par storytelling. This thing is so bland and cliched, I felt like was having an extended flashback to that one time I was bored and channel surfing, and caught an episode of the British teeny-bopper show S Club 7 when they tried to do a Blair Witch Project parody (and failed only slightly worse than LD 50). To top it off, the characters repeatedly make boneheaded choices. Five minutes after they get locked into the underground lab, what do they decide to do? Send their friend off to scout ahead (in other words, be the first to die), while they sit down and smoke a big, fat blunt. Now, I have nothing against getting high, but there is such a thing as a wrong time and wrong place. How about saving the celebratory spliff for AFTER you get out of the dark scary basement?

Dull and derivative, the saddest thing about LD 50 is that it could have worked with a bit more of a creative story and some much snappier dialogue. As it stands, it's just another bottom-feeder in an ocean of genre mediocrity.

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originally posted: 03/23/04 13:24:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Horror Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Horror Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/20/10 Dawn Boring, ridiculous movie! 1 stars
4/11/06 Justin The only reason I got this movie was for Melanie Brown. She rocked it. Budget sucked. 4 stars
11/18/04 Moshik A movie that makes you think about this issue in another point of view 5 stars
11/02/04 tree Loved it! More fun than a barrel of brains! 5 stars
7/19/04 Bone Headed Brian Mckay I still think you all must be retarded, but thanks for the feedback! 2 stars
7/12/04 Shaznay It was terrific, so much horror. I wish I'd get a chance to ever do a movie like that. 5 stars
6/08/04 Jo Much better than that Bone Headed Brian McKay had to say about it. 5 stars
4/28/04 Shelly Thomas I loved it even though it wasn't my usual type of movie. Saw it by accident. 5 stars
4/21/04 Dusty Wonderbra Quite impressive, certainly didn't expect it to be this good. Can't wait to watch it on DVD 5 stars
4/06/04 Maruja Diaz I've watched it at the Festival a couple weeks ago. This movie is highly recommended! 5 stars
3/30/04 Kim Beck Very good movie. Mel B did an awesome job!! I'm gonna go see it again. 5 stars
3/29/04 PhoenixChi I honestly think that the movie is great! 5 stars
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Directed by
  Simon De Selva

Written by
  Matthew McGuchan

  Katharine Towne
  Melanie Brown
  Tom Hardy
  Tania Emery
  Ross McCall
  Leo Bill

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