11th Nov2020

‘Cicada’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jeffrey Ryan Kent, Cassandra Hein, Beau Crawford, Mike Nielsen, Lawrence A. Mandley | Written and Directed by David Willis

The plot of Cicada (or CICADA! as it appears on-screen) is simple: after a swarm of mutated, over-sized cicadas hatch in Los Angeles, four eccentric friends led by a disgraced baseball player must band together to defend the city from the swarm of insects who are literally out for blood. Oh and did I mention these killer cicadas are also explosive? Because they crave sugar and sugar, in high enough quantities and under the right conditions can explode… I didn’t know that but it’s an eventual key plot of of Cicada‘s story!

I’ve been on something of a low-budget filmmaker kick recently having watched a number of SOV films from the late 80s/early 90s and caught up with Mark Polonia’s more recent direct to market efforts; and honestly, David Willis’ Cicada fits right in with that particular oeuvre. From the use of tons of green/blue screen to very much DIY-style filmmaking, with a cast of amateurs having fun with a script that never takes anything too seriously but also never plays things for laughs.

Of course these types of films are all about their monsters, the special effects; and it seems writer/director/editor David Willis has really taken a leaf out of the Brett Piper/Mark Polonia playbook when it comes to his movie monsters: the special effects are cheap yet effective; and there’s plenty of gore to keep horror fans entertained – heads exploding, heads torn off and enough blood to transfuse the population of a small American town!

The effects themselves are a mixture of poor CGI (what else? It’s almost as if bad CGI is becoming de rigueur in these types of low-to-no budget creature features) and some brilliant practical bug effects. Effects that, in the end credits, include rubber monsters hung on wire off the end of what look to be broom handles! It’s cheap and cheerful movie-making at its best. Cicada is the kind of film you’ll groan at, laugh with (not at) and have a lot of fun watching.

Originally funded through Indiegogo (where backers could get themselves killed on-screen in one of the many infestation montages), Cicada is out now on DVD and Digital from Wild Eye Releasing.


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