Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris, Robert Forster, Ian McKellan, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin, Rip Torn, Alyssa Milano, Robert Carlisle, Steve Martin, Dolph Lundgren, Christopher Lloyd, Judy Davis, Michael J. Fox
CHUD’s played by Tom Berenger, Lorenzo Llamas, Colm Meany, Brian Pollock, Helena Bonham Carter, Mitch Gaylord
Written by John Sayles, Frank Darabont, and Nick Nunziata
Directed by David Cronenberg
It is the dawn of the millenium, and NYC is cleaning up. Unfortunately, the Department of Sanitation is disposing harmful chemicals in the already ravaged East River. The toxic waste once again turns homeless people into fearless CHUD.
Naturalists Kevin and Suzanne Hart (Goldblum and Davis) find out about the contamination the hard way when they are brutally attacked by a new strain of underwater CHUD (Berenger) while they are collecting samples from the riverbed. He escapes with his life, while his wife fares worse, ultimately reduced to a single finger.
His pleas to the mayor (Torn) are met with conflict, and the politician unleashes his two hired thugs (Carlisle, Brolin) to silence the widower. They do not succeed, because the naturalist has allies in the police force (Harris and Forster) who defeat the thugs in an exciting chase through Chinatown. Meanwhile, CHUD’s (Meany and Pollock) savagely molest a hot dog vendor (Fox, in a remarkable change of pace).
The team of heroes go into the sewer, along with a former Green Beret (Martin, with stubble) to fight the subterranian horde. They manage to kill a few, but lose half their ranks (whichever two actors get a higher daily paycheck). They also spot a new breed of superhuman gymnastic CHUD (Gaylord) who has the ability to fly, fire rockets from its nipples (Gary Coleman), and throw its voice.
Then, the survivors try to convince the mayor at a fundraiser, but the party is crashed by CHUD’s (Carter, Llamas) who eat the mayor and kill his aides (Lloyd, Milano). The survivors band up with a newspaper deliveryman (McKellan), a priest with a black belt (Lundgren), and a visiting foot surgeon (Bacon) and defeat the CHUD army.
The film ends with a sewer lid being opened from beneath. The aquatic CHUD (Berenger) rises from the sewer, puts on a hat and “mixes in” with the swarming flock of businesspeople.