Starring: Yaphet Kotto, Sam Waterston, Kathleen Quinlan, Jeffrey DeMunn
Directed by: Hal Barwood
Written by: Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins
Original Year of Release: 1985
Distributor: Scream Factory
Run Time: 1h 39min
Have you ever thought, damn, I wish I could see something new for a change? I get to that point from time to time and long to see something different. Thankfully, Scream Factory dives deep into the sci-fi and horror genre and releases titles that are all but forgotten. When they announced that Warning Sign was going to get released, I had no clue what the film was about (besides the obvious with the Bio-Hazard sign). I watched the trailer (below) and saw that Sam Waterson and Kathleen Quinlan were both (young) in it and the film seemed to be a 1985 version of 28 Days Later, well the initial outbreak part. Further research revealed that Dean Cundey was the cinematographer (Back tot he Future, The Thing, Jurassic Park) and Craig Safan (The Last Starfighter) composed the score. Yes, I am a film nerd and those two last names pushed me over the edge to watch it.
Warning Sign is set in your basic top-secret government research lab that is pretending to be something else. A mistake happens, which has to occur or else there is no story, and we are off and running against the clock. Our two leads, Sam Waterson and Kathleen Quinlan, are a married couple separated by the virus. Waterson is the local police chief trying to protect the citizens and Quinlan is the security officer at the lab that sealed the place off from the world. What is refreshing, here, is just how everything is straight forward. The research, though a dark means to an end, is not as insane as "Rage Virus" in 28 Days Later. When the government does show up, Major Connelly, played by Yaphet Kotto (Alien), has no connection or dark objective to the research. He just wants it contained. Things do get out of hand, but in no way that is not believable for anyone on either side of the virus.
The Walking Dead fans will appreciate Jeffrey DeMunn's turn as the young scientist. Fans of The Thing will love seeing Richard Dysart playing a darker version of the character he played in John Carpenter's classic film. Above all, you relish in the simple story, a story that years of the X-Files have tainted us on. Sometimes bad things happen and good people have to make hard decisions. Young filmmakers should watch Warning Sign to learn how to make a good thriller on a small budget, a fact that the new interview with director/co-writer Hal Barwood highlighted. It is a shame that Barwood was more fascinated with video game designing (a fact he admitted to) more than making movies. I really enjoyed this film and Dragonslayer (1981), which he co-wrote. Who knows what other fun stories he could have told on the big screen.
- New interview with director/co-writer Hal Barwood
- New interview with producer Jim Bloom
- Audio commentary track with director /co-writer Hal Barwood
- TV Spot
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery