Underground -- Film Review

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CANNES -- "Underground" digs deep into the genre stockpile and splices on a smart new twist on the mad-scientist story. A well-made horror entertainment, "Underground" will appeal to fans of the genre and surely venture above ground in the profits department.

In this topical new spin on an old story, a U.S. government scientist has concocted a ferocious genetic species that should make the fighting man extinct. But, in the grand tradition of mad-scientist tales, the experiment has gone madly awry and the U.S. military has abandoned the crazed doctor and his mutant species. They're now entombed in the underground cavern of a former military base. Alas, the underground military base is now that haunted house into which into which two Iraq veterans (Ross Thomas, Adrian R'Mante) meander after a wild night of partying and drinking.

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After a knock-down drag-out with hothead homeys in a local bar, they find themselves lured into the abandoned bunker. They've also got their womenfolk with them and a couple of gung-ho buddies.

Trapped in the dank, horror-chamber, the group is now the prey of the mutant military warriors, dubbed troglomorphs by their manic creator. The trogs are blood-lusting fiends with superhuman powers.

In this well-wired entertainment, screenwriters Charles Morris, Jr. and Harold Gold have smartly connected horror-plot elements into a riveting entertainment. Rafael Eisenman's kinetic direction maxes the suspense and jeopardy, aided by his skilled technical team. Throughout, "Underground" is energized by director of photography Zoran Popovic's tight shooting and editor Joe Shugart's forceful pacing.

Venue: Festival de Cannes -- Market
Sales: TriCoast Worldwide
Production: Sunrise Media Group
Cast: Ross Thomas, Sofia Pernas, Adrian R'Mante, Jeff D'Agostino, Hayley Knight, Christine Evangelista. Inbar Lavi, Jack Donner
Director: Rafael Eisenman
Screenwriters: Charles Morris, Jr., Harold Gold
Producer: CB Barnett
Executive producers: Ami Artzi, Van Burrows, Strath Hamilton, Marcy Levitas Hamilton, Anthony Gudas, Robert Folk
Director of photography: Zoran Popovic
Production designer: Frank Bollinger
Editor: Joe Shugart
No Rating, 110 minutes
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