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FLYING VIRUS
2001

poster

Film

Director:

Jeff Hare

Language:
English

Running Time: 93'

Main Cast:
Gabrielle Anwar - Ann Baurer
Craig Sheffer - Marty Baurer
Rutger Hauer - Mr Ezekial
David Naughton - Dr. Stephen North
Duncan Regehr - Savior
Jason Brooks - Scotty Turner
Mark Adair-Rios - Raka

Screenplay:
Jeff Hare

Plot:
Secrets run deep in the heart of Brazil's vast Amazon region, secrets which Dr. Stephen North has dedicated more than ten years of his life to uncover. As a research scientist, North's work has focused on developing life saving medicines made from various roots and plants found in the darkest parts of the jungle. Just one of these tiny plants in combination with a precise mixture of chemicals and boom! Dr. North will be on the cover of every esteemed medical journal in circulation! More importantly, he'll be filthy rich. No more daily dousing of insect repellant and doses of malaria pills big enough to choke a horse. A mosquito buzzes angrily in his ear, and North realizes for now, it's only a dream. Clutching his specimen bag, his expression one of grim determination, North checks his map before setting off on the road less travelled.

A few miles away, in the city's only hospital, the last thing patient Ann Baurer remembers is being asked to dinner by a clean cut American boy, (okay, man) by the name of Scotty Turner, a liaison for the U.S. Embassy. After five days of beans and rice, the offer of a sit down dinner with a handsome man equated to winning the lottery. Ann, a television reporter for ICN News, and her cameraman Raka were doing business as usual, when the military compound they were reporting from was viciously attacked by an indigenous tribe! An indigenous tribe with decidedly modern machine guns and other weaponry. Raka had managed to roll tape on the action, but was 'relieved' of the material shortly thereafter by the U.S. military. Under strict orders not to leave the compound at night, Ann's journalistic instinct told her something was not right. There was a story here and someone was trying to bury it. She had no sooner told this to Raka when a bright light appeared in the sky. A helicopter! Ann remembers running, and then, a huge wave of pain as the bullets hit her body just before everything went black. Whoever wanted her dead was making a thorough job of getting it done! But somebody else was looking out for Ann.

It's a small community when it comes to foreigners, and Dr. North and Ann are acquaintances. Upon hearing of her remarkable recovery, North immediately pays a visit to the hospital. His motivation to do so is of course more out of medical curiosity than genuine concern. Ann's charts reveal that an unidentified toxin in her blood is causing her wounds to heal at an accelerated rate. Dr. North's heart begins to pound as he checks the small welts covering Ann's body. They appear to be some sort of insect bite, but not any ordinary insect. Although she doesn't know it, Ann may hold the secret to Dr. North's life ambition - a new miracle drug! On his way out of the room, North nearly plows into Martin Baurer, Ann's estranged husband. Martin isn't exactly pleased to catch North looking down his unconscious wife's hospital gown. Ann awakens from a drug-induced nap, pleasantly surprised to see her husband until they hit the subject of why she left him nearly one year ago. Ann wanted children, Martin wasn't ready and a deadline wasn't even open for discussions. They had reached an insurmountable crossroads and Ann decided to throw herself into her work - halfway across the world from Martin.

Meanwhile, North convinces Raka to drive him back to the location where he and Ann were attacked. If he can find the source of the bites, the insects, perhaps he can save other lives; Ann will have contributed to a breakthrough in medical science! Raka agrees to drive, but leaves North in the jungle. A few hours later, North emerges, pale-faced and shaking. He has just witnessed a force of Nature more horrific, more powerful than anything he's ever seen before. The knuckles of his left hand are white, firmly gripping an impact-proof specimen trunk. Two days later, the trunk finally leaves his sight as it is loaded into the cargo-hold of a passenger plane bound for New York City. North is less than pleased to find Martin at the airport, waiting to board the same flight. Meanwhile, Scotty Turner and Raka escort Ann from the hospital. Ann is surprised at Dr. North's absence. No sooner does Raka tell her about their little foray into the woods, when Ann puts two and two together. In the jungle, their nerves more than a little on the edge, Ann and Raka search for clues as to why North was so interested in the area. Raka tells Ann there's a rumour going around that the Shadow People saved her. A mysterious nomadic tribe, few people have actually seen them and lived to tell about it. Suddenly, a humming noise increasing in fervor catches their attention - Ann flashes back to being shot, she remembers hearing this noise before blacking out. Suddenly, before their very eyes, a huge panther is attacked and lifted by a black cloud of .... KILLER BEES!! Ann turns to Raka. Her expression alone speaks volumes! They have got to find North and stop that plane from taking off! Ann calls Scotty, asking for his help, she tells him about the bees and Dr. North. But....

Too late! The plane is already airborne, and Martin watches the vast jungle disappearing beneath the clouds. Somewhere in the middle of that jungle is a woman he loved very much. No sooner do he and the passengers settle in for a long journey when the captain makes an announcement that they could be in for a bumpy ride. The plane suddenly hits a huge air pocket, losing several feet of altitude. The passengers scream, the panic level building, but Rick, the pilot, regains control of the plane. In the cargo-hold, there is minimal shifting of luggage, but something much, much worse has happened... the specimen trunk has been damaged! The bees slowly make their way out of the cargo and in to the main cabin. It's less than an hour since they've been in the air before the bees take their first victim! And another. They're not going to stop until they've killed everyone..

Ann realizes there is no way to warn to the passengers on the plane about the bees, but she does have Dr. North's cell phone number. It's worth a shot. A male voice greets her on the other end and Ann gives the lunatic a piece of her mind, only it's not Dr. North, it's Martin! Ann's heart sinks to the pit of her stomach. Her dear, sweet infuriating husband is on the same plane with the killer bees. Ann quickly brings Martin up to speed only to have him tell her Dr. North has been stung and is unconscious. The person responsible for this disaster, and the only one who may know how to fight the bees is seriously out of commission. In addition to that, the Brazilian government will not allow the plane to return to the airport for fear they may be carrying a strain of the deadly Ebola virus! Ann tells Martin he must survive long enough to find a way to fight the bees and land the plane. She'll have to find the antidote to their deadly sting, but where to start? She knows there must be a reason behind her amazing recovery from the bullet wounds, and the secret lies deep in the jungle with the Shadow People.

Through the dense forest, Ann leads a desperate search for an antidote to the lethal bee stings, but somebody is trying to stop her from uncovering a horrible conspiracy. These bees are no by-product of Mother Nature! Thirty thousand feet in the air, Martin takes the lead in an all-out assault on the angry insects. They're running out of fuel and they're running out of time....

Notes:
In the film, various animals can be seen, but none of them has been injured or harmed during the shooting.

The bees in the film were a combination of computer generated images and real bees. Trainers released the bees and retrieved them with nets after a scene was filmed. In some close up shots, a bee climbs out of a soda can, on a head set, and on an actor's arm. Bees that appear to be swatted at by actors were supplied by the trainer, who preserves bees that die of natural causes and then uses those dead bees for scenes that would place a live bee in jeopardy. When the bees emerge from the airplane lavatory sink and into the cabin, a fake bathroom sink was built to accommodate the insects. A trainer stood under the fake sink holding the bees in a net. The trainer released the bees, which flew through the fake sink and into the plane. Again, trainers caught the bees in nets when the scene was over.

As for the black panther that in one scene leaps at two characters, both a computer generated and a real panther were used. A trainer put the large cat on its mark in front of a green screen and played with the panther, that was then filmed in various positions and looking in different directions. The panther's scene was edited in post-production to make it appear as though it was actually attacking the people.

The specimens in jars in a laboratory and the dead, poison dart frogs that hang from a line were props made from sponges, while the alligator that appears to be shot at in the water is stock footage.

Rutger on the set, joking with Jeff

Set Shots:


Trailer:

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