Plot: A small scale space program entered the exploration field to prove that NASA was an inefficient, bloated organization. The goal was to show how a tight, efficient program could still explore space and not suck up endless government funds. As such, the space shuttle Nautilus was launched and the mission seemed to be going well, until the craft encountered some strange spores in a space field. These spores caused the pilot to lose control of the ship and soon after, it crashed into a swamp in Florida. The spores did more than crash the craft however, as they mutated the pilot into some kind of horrific monster. Now the beast is on the loose and an unsuspecting populace is in real danger, as the creature preys upon the locals. Is there anyone who can track down and stop the beast, or will there just be some kind of cover-up?
Entertainment Value: An obvious knock-off of the Alien franchise, this low rent sci/fi adventure is inconsistent, but still fun at times. The story follows a space pilot who turns into a space monster, then crash lands and terrorizes Floridians. I appreciate low budget, regional genre films, but I know that’s not true of everyone. If you need flashy effects or top tier displays of thespianism, then Dark Universe might not be your cup of tea. But if you like ridiculous rip-offs that stretch a thin budget and use a lot of stock footage of alligators, you might have some fun here. The cast is mostly forgettable, but we do have the greatness of Joe Estevez, so there’s your star power. You’ll also see some other familiar faces if you’ve seen a fair share of b movies. The movie starts off on the slow side, but the second half picks up the pace and ups the fun quotient. The movie also doesn’t take itself too seriously, which means there’s a sense of humor to a lot of the scenes. This was a wise choice and the timing on most of the humor is dead on, just in the right spots. If you’re a fan of sci/fi b movies or regional indie genre films, give this a shot.
A couple of topless scenes are present, including one that involves a nerdy cameraman who struggles to unbutton a shirt. So while we only have a couple breasts on showcase, one topless scene does lead right into a murderous armadillo, so yeah. Not much blood, just a few splashes and no graphic on screen violence. But we do get some cool looking transformations, as the beast saps the life right out of the victims. These look quite cool and better than you might expect. I also have to talk about our monster and while we only see the head and arms pretty much, it is a neat xenomorph knock-off. A low rent version for sure, but still pretty cool. Most of the dialogue here is forgettable, but we do get a few decent lines here and there. But for a regional indie, I expected a bit more outlandish dialogue from this one. On the crazy scale, we have a bargain basement xenomorph, a killer armadillo, food that animates and attacks, and some humorous performances. So not the craziest movie out there by any means, but I think Dark Universe deserves a couple notches of insanity.
Overall Insanity: 2/10