Posted: 09/24/2004


Terminal Error


by Del Harvey

Tries harder with a difficult plot device, with the usual expected results. New from MTI Home Video.

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When a bitter former partner of a wealthy computer mogul, Brad Weston (Michael Nouri), wants revenge, he releases a powerful computer virus that surprisingly takes on a mind of its own. What was supposed to only destroy computer terminals evolves into a deadly entity that is killing everyone in its path, by creating deadly technical errors. Now, it’s up to Brad and his son, Dylan (Matthew Ewald) to outsmart the virus, before the virus outsmarts the world.

Being a story whose central plot revolves around the threat inherent in a rogue computer virus, there are problems with the film common to any story that relies upon computer threats for action or sustained suspense. The threat, itself, is invisible, and the resulting pandemonium and horror is thus distanced from our immediate experience. When something unusual happens as a result of this computer glitch, our subconscious tells us, “Call the repair guy.” We don’t feel as though there is any great life threat going on here. The lone bad guy in the film is pretty much removed a little over halfway through the film, which also removes our immediate interest in the action.

Nouri, once a dashing hunk of an actor, looks as though his weight is preventing any real movement or momentum forward in his career. Sirtis is relegated to a minor role which, as written, could have been phoned in by anyone. The son, Ewald, is the default lead character in this film, but even his motives are muddied and never really touched upon, thus removing any interest on the part of the viewer. Timothy Busfield plays another nerdy Renfield type, and his typecasting seems terminal at this point in his career.

Terminal Error was written by T.L. Petrie and directed by John Murlowski (Black Cadillac), and co-produced by Bari Carrelli (Fangs, Trapped: Buried Alive). The film stars Michael Nouri (The Terminal, Lovely & Amazing), Marina Sirtis (Net Games, Star Trek: The Next Generation), Timothy Busfield (The West Wing, National Security), Matthew Ewald (Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke), and Robert Casey (Falling in Love).

The DVD release will include interactive menus, scene selection, cast filmographies, optional Spanish subtitles, and trailers. The film will be priced at $24.95 SRP for the DVD and $49.95 for the VHS (rental). The film will be available on VHS and DVD on October 12, 2004, from MTI Home Video.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly and teaches screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.

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