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Virus (film)
Director: John Bruno
Writer(s): Chuck Pfarrer
Release Date: January 15, 1999
Running Time: 100 mins.
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Virus is a 1999 sci-fi horror film based on a Dark Horse comic book of the same name.


The film opens with the Russian space station Mir conducting a transmission with a research ship in the South Pacific, Akademik Vladislav Volkov. While the crew of both the space station and the ship converse, a large electrical storm from deep space strikes the Mir. The electrical surge hijacks the Mir's electronics and beams itself to Earth by entering the ship, disabling it in the process. The crew of Mir are apparently killed, while the large research vessel's crew suffer an unknown fate.

Eight days later, during a typhoon, the tugboat Sea Star, captained by Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland), loses its uninsured cargo, which was the captain's last chance to get out of debt. Sea Star's crew, led by Kelly Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Steve Baker (William Baldwin) discover the tug taking on water in its engine room; Foster suggests to Everton that they take refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs. Everton agrees, but while Sea Star rests in calm waters, he puts a bullet in his pistol and contemplates committing suicide. At that time, the Akademik Vladislav Volkov appears on Sea Star's radar, and upon realizing that it could be worth many millions in salvage, Everton orders his crew aboard.

All transmission equipment on the ship is destroyed and most wires are slashed; even more strangely, several areas of the ship are riddled with bullet holes, suggesting a struggle. However, no crew appear to be present, much to Everton's delight (as if any crew were surviving, his salvage would be worth much less than the $30 million he envisioned.) Everton orders Baker to go with another crewman, Squeaky (Julio Oscar Mechoso) and restore power to the ship so that it can be moved. They do so, but almost immediately, the ship's anchor drops seemingly on its own, sinking the Sea Star and wounding its deckhand Hiko (Cliff Curtis). Baker leaves Squeaky behind to guard the engine room but he is soon lured to his death by a strange, robotic, spider-like creature.

Afterward, as Foster treats Hiko's injured leg in the ship's sick bay, a figure in a gas mask bursts out of one of the medical cabinets and fires a Škorpion vz. 61 at the crew. Baker subdues the figure and removes the gas mask to reveal Chief Science Officer Nadia Vinogradiya (Joanna Pacula), the sole survivor of the Russian ship's crew. Nadia rants hysterically about "it" needing power to travel through the ship, strikes Everton and attempts to wield an axe against Foster, but Foster succeeds in subduing her long enough for them to take her to the bridge.

When Squeaky does not respond to Baker's calls, he sets out to check the engine room and orders his crewmates Richie (Sherman Augustus) and Woods (Marshall Bell) to come and assist him. Richie and Woods, who were sent elsewhere in the ship prior, encounter another of the strange robots and soon find a fully automated workshop producing them. When Richie prods a newly-created machine creature, it shoots Woods with a nail gun, then the pair are attacked by what appears to be a gun-wielding Russian crew member.

Eventually, Richie and Woods catch up with Baker, who has found the engine room abandoned with its door welded shut. They are suddenly attacked again by the Russian crewman, who is revealed to be a cyborg. As Richie and Woods lifted a stock of weaponry from the ship's munitions depot, the trio are able to battle the cyborg.

At the bridge, Everton accuses Nadia of being the one who dropped the anchor and sank the Sea Star. He threatens to shoot her if she doesn't give him Squeaky's whereabouts, but realizing this makes no sense as Nadia was hiding in the sick bay, Foster stops him. Woods, Baker and Richie arrive with the apparently dead cyborg and display it on a table; beginning to connect the dots, Foster asks Nadia to tell them fully what happened. She explains that the electrical energy from the Mir boarded the ship eight days prior, and it was not just energy but a highly intelligent lifeform. It scanned all the data on the ship's computers in order to learn how to kill humans, then set about using the ship's machine shops - first, it built the smaller robots, the "gatherers." After that it began giving itself the body it lacked by killing the crew and converting them into cyborgs; the one that Sea Star's crew killed was Nadia's captain and husband Alexi.

When the eye of the storm passes away from the ship and violent seas return, the crew decides over Everton's objections to find a way to destroy the creature. They head for the computer room but are ambushed by Squeaky, who has been converted into a cyborg, and also by a gigantic robot that kills Woods. The surviving crew flee into and barricade themselves inside a communications room where Richie manages to send out a mayday; however, Everton shoots out the communicator, unwilling to let anyone else in on his salvage. Foster punches Everton in the face and declares him removed from command. Richie comes up with an idea: the alien lifeform is electrical and inside the computers, so they can speak to it using a computer. It replies that it is "aware" when asked who it is, then declares that mankind is a species harmful to the body of the whole, a virus. When asked what it wants, it replies with various tissues and nerves - humanity is only useful for spare parts, which causes Richie to go insane. He brutally kills the cyborg Squeaky as it breaks into the room, then uses a rocket launcher to escape.

Everton, who stayed behind in the communications room while the rest of his mutinous crew decided to go find the computer and sink it, realizes that the alien is interested in him. He uses the computer to tell the alien that he is the "dominant lifeform" and offers to help it reach any port it desires in exchange for the salvage. He is told to go to Workroom 14 on the E Deck.

The crew finds the computer room empty with a number of the spider robots crawling around; the alien moved the computer elsewhere in the ship. Realizing that the ship is taking them somewhere, they struggle back to the bridge, but Hiko is blown overboard. Meanwhile, Everton enters the workshop and finds the robots mutilating and dissecting a number of men including Woods. Impressed with the alien's work, he bargains with it, and it asks him to help it survive.

Foster identifies Lord Howe Island as the ship's destination. Baker realizes that the alien wishes to reach the island because of the British intelligence installation there, which would allow it to beam itself anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. The crew agree to sink the ship, but then a new cyborg appears in the room - made from a Russian sailor's torso, with Everton's disembodied head. Cyborg Everton attacks his crew, and the alien takes over his body to declare that there is "a whole world waiting out there." Nadia manages to kill Everton by using a thermite grenade, but the crew realizes time is running out. They decide to sink the ship by flooding the hold with fuel and detonating it.

A bomb is placed in the hold as the crew empty all the fuel tanks. Foster and Baker run into Richie, who fled them earlier. Suddenly, the giant robot from earlier - named the "Goliath Machine" - appears and injures Richie. It captures Foster and tortures her so she will reveal where the bomb is. Richie reveals to Baker that he has prepared an escape route in the ship's missile room. Nadia and Baker manage to rescue Foster from the Goliath Machine and Nadia sacrifices herself to detonate another grenade at point blank range and kill the Goliath Machine, but the creature survives.

Ultimately, Foster and Baker manage to reach the escape route, which is a sled strapped to a rocket. As they shoot out of the ship through a missile shaft, the sled pulls the trigger on a massive bomb that destroys the entire ship.

Some time later, Foster finds herself passed out over Baker, both of them holding on to some wreckage. She spots what appears to be Hiko's body clinging to another piece of wreckage and swims to him, but she discovers his face has been torn off moments before the seemingly dead corpse attacks her. However, this was just a nightmare, and she and Baker are actually safe on a helicopter from a rescue ship.


  • Jamie Lee Curtis as Kelly "Kit" Foster
  • William Baldwin as Steve Baker
  • Donald Sutherland as Captain Robert Everton
  • Joanna Pacula as Nadia Vinogradova
  • Marshall Bell as J.W. Woods Jr.
  • Sherman Augustus as Richie Mason
  • Cliff Curtis as Hiko
  • Julio Oscar Mechoso as Squeaky


The film was shot in North Carolina and Virginia.

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