Hal Barwood’s “Warning Sign” is the example of a movie with a great concept and idea, but with almost no really good delivery of said concept. “Warning Sign” is a surprising pre-cursor to films like “28 Days Later” and “Resident Evil” but never quite manages to reach the level of tension as the aforementioned titles. Instead “Warning Sign” garners a great cast with a fairly uneven and sometimes goofy delivery of a premise that could have been wrought with terror and themes about science gone awry.
In a laboratory where scientists are researching agriculture, the staff is also secretly developing a biological weapon for the government. After an accident allows the bacteria to spread within the facility, security guard Joanie Morse is tasked with shutting down the entire center and sealing those that have been infected inside. As the infected staff members begin turning in to rage fueled, violent zombies, Joanie struggles to stay alive with a fellow co-worker and keep them from breaking out. Now with a shifty team of government operatives outside looking for a way in to contain the virus, Joanie’s husband and a former biological scientist team up to infiltrate the lab, save Joanie, cure the disease, before it’s unleashed on the population.
Barwood delivers some uneven direction, throwing in action, horror, and plain science fiction in to the mix, and he never quite undercuts the inherent silliness of the entire film. Which is a shame, considering the more the movie unfolds and lingers, the goofier it becomes. Like, why is there a government lab in the middle of the mid-west? Why would a lynch mob be trying to break in to a secret lab with potential to unleash something terrible on the world? There are also the goofy plot twists where lab tech Jeffrey DeMunn develops an antidote for the germ that took years to cultivate and build as a weapon. There’s also the confusing development where the trio of heroes within the lab proclaim wanting to help the victims of the infection, only to build an automatic flame thrower minutes later to murder any attackers.
That said, “Warning Sign” grabs a great cast of character actors, as well as a pretty great scene set in a dark tunnel with the infected. When all is said and done “Warning Sign” is a refresher course for much better genre films that took from its formula.
The Blu-Ray from Scream Factory garners a brand new interview with director/co-writer Hal Barwood who discusses the film, the genesis of the production and the experience making it. There’s a new interview with producers Jim bloom, and an audio commentary with director/co-writer Hal Barwood. Finally there are some TV Spots, the original theatrical trailer, and a Still Gallery for the film.