Lethal Dose (2003)
By: Andrew Gillies on May 5, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Force Entertainment (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 93 minutes
The Movie
Director: Simon De Selva
Starring: Katharine Towne, Melanie Brown, Tom Hardy, Ross McCall, Toby Fisher, Leo Bill, Philip Winchester, Stephen Lord
Screenplay: Matthew McGuchan
Country: UK
AKA: LD 50 Lethal Dose
Lethal Dose is definitely one of those films that some people will or won't get. I didn't get it. And because of that, found it a bizarre mental warp and not overly entertaining. Sure, it had former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, but apart from that, the movie just didn't do much for me.

The film depicts a group of animal activists on a mission to release animals from an animal testing laboratory, when it all goes wrong. One of the team members is left behind after an accident. He's caught and sentenced to three years jail. A year later, the remaining group find and decode a message on their website from the imprisoned member, and they discover that he has volunteered for experimentation to reduce his sentence, but now he's in trouble! The group set out to rescue him, but discover the isolated laboratory he's at has something amiss, and strange things begin to happen.

Sound scary? Well it isn't, not really. The plot is something different, however it fell short early on. Maybe it was something to do with the DVD cover suggesting some Resident Evil and Cube style action, but the movie took its time to get off the ground, and when it did, there was nothing overly impressive about it. The lack of onscreen mayhem and excitement, and too much of a build up actually made the end result anti-climactic for me. It left me thinking, "What, is that it?"

Of course, not trying to ruin the story for those of you still interested. There is obviously a lot of character building, but it's not successful because when someone does bite it, you don't care. I found myself wanting to see more gore than anything else, and considering it has an R rating, I was expecting some nasty stuff! But the gore was seriously lacking, and that seen was nothing to warrant an R rating. The movie has its share of blood, just nothing to write home about.

Probably being billed as a psychological horror, this isn't some sort of action-packed thrill ride. But it doesn't seem that psychological either. I understand what the filmmakers were trying to do; it just wasn't achieved successfully. The cold hard fact is that I found the movie often boring, dragging, and lacking in horror related elements. It seemed to not focus on the horror elements much, but rather a confusing sci-fi trapped and alone movie.

Lethal Dose had its ups, but mainly downs. The story is nothing special, the acting is decent, but the presentation of the film was unpleasing. It tried to be too psychologically stimulating, and instead failed and became a boring crawl through an abandoned laboratory, keeping the audience waiting for what I thought was a seriously lacking conclusion.
The movie is presented in an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and is better than previous Force Entertainment releases, but still could be improved. The colours are very muted and the tone is very dull. Blacks aren't black, but a dark grey, which is annoying more than anything else. At one stage, what I assume was blood looked a murky brown colour, with a red tinge to it. The image also suffers from some grain, which is present early on, and can be seen in darker sequences. The overall print has a very bland tone to it. However, this could be due to the fact the movie was filmed using Kodak VISION2 film (and apparently was the first to use this film), but don't ask me what that means. Other than that, the print is not bad.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, it actually was a pleasant surprise. Relying heavily on sound, the movie is not let down by this mix, with effects and score divided evenly, without muffling dialogue. It would be a better experience if the sound fully surrounded you with a 5.1 mix, but the 2.0 does an excellent job, better than expected.
Extra Features
A trailer that makes the movie look more exciting than it is. Contains huge plot spoilers though.
The Verdict
Lethal Dose is an interesting film, but it is an acquired taste. It didn't suit me; I found it slow, boring, and anti-climactic. I'm sure there are those who get it, and appreciate it for what it is. But I wouldn't recommend this to buy, maybe a rental if you're feeling bored. One must be in the right frame of mind for this flick. Other than that, Force Entertainment's release is not bad, with a decent transfer and pretty good audio to follow.
Movie Score
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