Written by John Brosnan (and based on his novel) Proteus (1995) comes off as your typical ‘90s sci-fi-horror knock off of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). A group of heroin smugglers are stranded in a boat on the open seas and finds safe haven on what seems to be an abandoned oil rig in the middle of nowhere. Upon closer inspection the oil rig isn’t completely abandoned as the drug smugglers begin to learn that the rig is really housing for a secret government lab doing strange experiments away from the prying eyes of the public. It seems that the experiment got away from them and the monster that was created is roaming free on the rig killing everyone that it comes into contact with.
It seems that the creature created in the labs of the oil rig can be anyone it absorbs (and kills). Now the group of smugglers must survive against a seemingly indestructible foe that can be any one of them at any time.
Like true ‘90s horror film fashion Proteus doesn’t waste time getting to the point as the action starts off from the beginning and never lets up. The oil rig is a maze in which the creature can hide anywhere and strike out at any time which actually makes for some entertaining moments in the film. The film is bogged down with “character” faults inherent in all horror film cannon fodder (such as the fact that characters always disappear from the group to search out for loved ones obviously already dead) and there are very few suspenseful or horrifying moments but the ‘90s were not known for creating monster films that were actually terrifying. The ‘90s were more known for creating entertaining and sometimes gory displays of horrifying glory.
Proteus is an easily forgettable film but it is not so bad that you won’t at least be entertained for about 90 minutes which cannot be said of many of the derivative films made today.