aka Cerberus: The Guardian of Hell
Director – John Terlesky, Screenplay – David Mason, Producer – Lisa Hansen, Photography – Viorel Sergovici, Music – Neil Acree & Aldo Shllahu, Visual Effects – Hidden Fortress, Visual Effects Supervisor – Scott D. Wheeler, Special Effects Supervisor – Moise Constantin, Makeup Effects/Creature Effects – The Healy FX Studio, Production Design – Maria Elena Peici. Production Company – CineTel Films/Sci Fi Pictures/Cerberus Films A.V.V.
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Professor Samantha Gaines), Greg Evigan (Marcus Cutter), Sebastian Spence (Jake Addams), Brent Florence (Zach Gaines), Michael Cory Davis (Burke), [uncredited] John Terlesky (Willis), Garret T. Sato (Kul Jae Sung)
In Budapest, Romania, mercenary Marcus Cutter engineers the theft of the breastplate of Attila the Hun from a museum. Archaeologist Samantha Gaines is expecting the breastplate to be delivered for an exhibition in the US. After receiving news of the theft, Samantha also learns that her brother Zach has been abducted. She is directed by the kidnappers to fly to Romania where she is taken away by Cutter’s men. She is rescued by CIA agent Jake Addams. Joining Addams, she follows a series of clues in search of the location of Attila’s Sword of Mars, which is reputed to bestow great power on the wielder. The clues lead her to the tomb of Attila inside a fortress. However, Cutter follows them and takes the sword. This now makes him invulnerable to all damage. This has also served to unleash Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates to Hell. The Cerberus beast now rampages across the Romanian countryside, killing all in its path.
Cerberus is a monster movie that was released directly to The Sci-Fi Channel. Cerberus was made by CineTel Films who specialize in lesser-budgeted action films that more often than not are horror and science-fiction hybrids. Director John Terlesky has made a number of other CineTel/Sci-Fi Channel films such as The Pandora Project (1998), Judgment Day (1999), Chain of Command (2000), Guardian (2000), Malevolent (2002), Written in Blood (2002), Not My Life (2006), the monster movie Fire Serpent (2007) and the psycho-thriller By Appointment Only (2009), all of which fall into genre territory.
Cerberus is a hard film to get your head around. Not to say that it is particularly intellectually challenging but rather that it is written with such a hodgepodge of elements as to enter the completely bizarre. The title creature comes from Greek mythology where Cerberus is the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the underworld Hades and whom Hercules had to fight before he could enter. For some reason in the film however, Cerberus has ended up in Romania rather than Greece and is guarding a mystical sword. The sword is also one owned by Attila the Hun, who was neither Greek nor Romanian (although did at least sweep his armies across either country during his invasions of Europe in the 5th Century). For some reason, Attila’s sword also has the ability to bestow immortality, which was not a known ability ever attributed to Attila during his lifetime.
The title monster is brought to life with some routine CGI effects. To the film’s credit, the effects team get their act together to create a passable climax with Cerberus running loose in the streets. The biggest disappointment about the film is how little is done with Cerberus as a figure. In mythology, the character has the role as the guardian to the entrance to the underworld; in the film it is simply a generic monster movie nemesis that comes with the novelty of having three heads.
Being a CineTel film, Cerberus comes filled with a good deal of gratuitous low-budget action scenes – various car chases and shootouts. There are also several silly digital gore effects with characters having their hands severed and legs bitten off to stumps. The plot is all over the place as a story – in fact, more time is spent on the immortal villain with the sword (Greg Evigan) than there ever is the three-headed dog. In his first (?) villainous role, Greg Evigan gets into the part and plays as broadly to the gallery as he can. As the CIA agent, Sebastian Spence projects an appropriately handsome and assured heroic certainty.