Charon has Atilla look into Elisa's file through a secret communication channel because back in the real world, using computers for evil was what the prisoner was best at. Before he can learn much, Elisa explains to Persephone and Charon that she has a new bit of therapy that 'the company' sent her to try out. It involves nanotechnology and she seems to think that by injecting tiny robots into the bloodstream of crazies she can modify their behavior. She gets her first opportunity when the staff gases the inmate's living quarters (which happens whenever they get too rowdy), putting them all to sleep and allowing the guards, CR and BR, to collect blood samples and bring one of them, Boudda, up into their lab. Charon is reluctant at first but agrees when she tries it on Boudda and he calms down significantly; Persephone wants no part of it. Boudda and the others see the incident as something else entirely. Before the gassing started, the new guy stood over him and had a vision wherein he saw an amphibious-looking arachnid not unlike a rubbery rendering of a face hugger from Alien, but bright orange instead of traditional grey, inside of his fellow inmate's chest. No one else can see what he sees and thus don't respond when the new guy pulls the spider out and eats it. Boudda and Raspoutine interpret the incident as the new guy, whom they nickname Saint Georges, performing a miracle by relieving his pain. Cesar, perhaps sensing that their support could mean an end to his reign of admittedly limited power, has Moloch and Lazare try to kill Saint Georges. Raspoutine intervenes and cuts Moloch's throat but following another of Saint Georges' visions, CR and BR can find nothing wrong with him when they gas the inmates to get a closer look.
These miracles begin affecting everyone. Persephone questions her belief in science and refuses to let Elisa put her nano-face huggers inside Saint Georges bloodstream. Charon overrules her and they try anyway but Saint Georges wakes from his sleep and escapes back into the inmates quarters. Cesar maintains that Saint Georges is evil until, one more spider-eating vision later, he cures the dictator of the nano-technology that Elisa gave him. Atilla finally finds out what Elisa's been sent here to do and responds by seizing control of the ship's controls and setting a collision course for Dante. They have about an hour before their on the fiery surface of the planet and the only way that Charon can see to save everyone is to get to the manual piloting chamber below the floor of the inmates quarters, which means confronting them for the first time. Elisa, of course, has her own plans and so for that matter does Saint Georges.
Fincher, of course, had a stout 150 or so minutes with which to give his gorgeous production design all the attention it deserved. Caro had 81 minutes and a hell of a lot more story to tell. Yet, all in all, Dante 01 is a much better movie than both Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection because it moves at too quick a pace for you to get bogged down in its unanswered questions and biggest flaws. In fact, if I have one problem with Dante 01 it’s that it doesn’t address its biggest mystery. We know right from the start that Saint Georges is no ordinary prisoner, and we also know that Elisa is up to no good and yet we learn nothing about either of them. Elisa clearly knows something’s up with him, she was sent in the same shuttle with him to that big psych ward in the sky, and the company trusts her enough to let her administer bloodspiders so why doesn’t she know anything about Saint Georges’ abilities? Does no one know that he has psychic power? What do they allow him to do exactly; can he heal anything? The ambiguity is not unwelcome, per se, as this is a sci-fi film and I would have rioted in the non-existent aisles if someone had sat us down at the end to let us know exactly what we’ve been watching. Really I don’t mind so much, it’s just that Caro had crafted a neat little potboiler and I expected him to be able to answer some of the more pressing questions he poses. I don't think it would have taken away from the film’s greatest strengths to learn where Saint Georges came from or whether he was supposed to figure into some larger plan or other.
Just before things start to get super-repetitive, our mudman comes across a botanist or biologist or some such ologist, who hides out in her apartment in a HAZMAT suit. She runs some tests on him and she doesn’t like what she sees. I think what we’re supposed to gather from this is that he’s got a higher predisposition towards turning into a tree or a mutant. She tries to flee, leaving him to die at the hands of the mutants, but he catches up to her and then rapes her in a service elevator. Maybe. It’s hard to tell, but he keeps roaring and grimacing and she alternates between seeming to enjoy it and clearly not. Afterwards, they join forces to evade the soldiers, but they both wind up caught anyway. The ending makes little to no sense, even if it looks kinda cool.
Vestiel, whose movie is in his second language, is almost as bad at directing extras as Jean Rollin. The dialogue that the soldiers deliver is so stilted and hackneyed that it feels stolen from a video game, along with the plot. The mutants feel lifted in much the same way. They look like their more vicious older brothers from Neil Marshall’s The Descent, yet pose no threat because our mudman lays them out with little to no problem whenever he encounters them. One of the film’s greatest problem is that the majority of its set-pieces are borrowed or stolen, and together they retain nothing of their original power because they have to fit into the weak storyline. Clearly Vestiel put a lot of thought into the look and feel of the film, and its best images, those of the treemen and half destroyed laboratories, are really quite stunning. I just wish he had either let someone else direct or given the script a little more thought.