Bugged (1997)

You’d think that with advances in technology and an increasing fan base, Troma movies would start to at least look better after a while, but this film looks as dated and cheap as the company’s ’80s releases — granted, it stands out from the pack due to its all-black cast.

The story revolves around exterminator Dave (writer/director/person-to-blame Ronald K. Armstrong), whose regular stash of pesticide is switched with some mutating substance concocted by the merely semi-mad scientist Dr. Craig (John Kilgore). So, instead of killing the bugs in Divine’s (Priscilla Basque) house, he makes them grow in size and brain power (which begs the question, do insects have brains?).

The budget for this film is nil. It’s so cheap that some of the bugs don’t even move. Plus, when the infested house supposedly blows up at the end, they cut to a black screen as we hear the explosion. Like most Troma products, Bugged never takes itself seriously. Unlike most Troma products, some of the attempts at humor actually work, such as when the giant bug picks up Dave’s gun and shoots at him, or when the bugs throw a frozen chicken tied to a rope into the house to go “people fishing.” Still, the mere cheapitude of it all — including the bargain-basement acting — weakens the impact of even the best moments. But I suppose they do the best with what they have…which ain’t much.

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