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By Doug Brunell | October 30, 2004

There’s a mysterious new drug on the market – one that changes you on a very basic level. Beyond addiction, the users mutate, becoming something far, far less than human. Detective Eddie Boone has been injected with this drug. Now he hunts the man responsible, known only as “The Drug Lord”. He wants to stop the flow of “Ozone” onto the streets, even at the sacrifice of his own salvation.

In 1993, filmmaker J.R. Bookwalter had a cult classic zombie film under his belt (“The Dead Next Door”) and a handful of virtually unwatchable work-for-hire clunkers that were destined to be hauled away by the “Bad Movie Police” (tee hee). He was searching for something he could be proud to have his name on and found it in an offbeat, Cronenberg-esque script by David Wagner about a drug that makes demons and zombies.
Ostensibly, “Ozone” was seen as a follow-up to his popular “The Dead Next Door”, and the bizarre script left a lot of fans a bit cold. But what many failed to see was that “Ozone” had a strong, odd story with a beginning, middle and end, and a very strong lead actor in James Black. Bookwalter was attempting to tell a unique tale and was working hard to show viewers things they’d never seen before – including dabbling in the very new realm of computer-generated “morphs” that were only beginning to be popular at the time. “Ozone” may not be successful on all levels – a lot of the low-tech practical special-effects looked dated even then – Bookwalter should be commended on his attempt to bring something new to the small screen.
On the new DVD release from Tempe video, “Ozone” has never looked better. The original VHS-C footage appears almost brand new (without the dark and gauzy “film look” the original tape had), and many of the “morph” effects have been cleaned up as well. The audio commentary with Bookwalter and Black is relaxed and entertaining, coming close to the Carpenter/Russell “Big Trouble in Little China” territory in terms of two old friends catching up. The disk is loaded with extras, trailers and featurettes as well. Highly recommended for horror fans in the mood for something a little different.

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