HEY KIDS! Wanna know how to make up your own killer animal movie? Film Threat is here to show you how!
FADE IN – NIGHT. An empty road outside of a small, isolated town in the American Southwest (…or the mountains, deep south, middle of the ocean, whatever…) Two teenagers are in a car (boat, whatever). The boy talks his girlfriend into nookie. As they start going at it, she hears a strange noise.
TEENAGE GIRL: What’s that? Did you hear that?
TEENAGE BOY: It’s nuthin’. There’s nobody around here for miles. Then they both hear a noise. Suddenly, the car (boat, whatever) is attacked by a [bat, shark, crocodile, bunny]. Both teenagers are ripped apart.
FADE IN – Title Sequence! Upon discovery of the bodies, a government body (local, state, and/or federal) brings together a beautiful, expert, female scientist (and preferable neurotic) and a laconic, handsome, local sheriff (animal wrangler, hunter, fish & game officer, whatever). They are assisted by a series of red-shirts that include ONE jive-talkin’ black guy (preferably a rapper) to teach the white kids how you survive ON THE STREET. The scientist and the sheriff usually begin with some friction which turns into sexual tension as the pair discover that their animal problem is the result of some crazed scientist messing with nature, either for some hazy medical or military benefit or just for kicks. OH, WHEN WILL THEY LEARN NOT TO PLAY GOD?!?!?! Soon, this dwindling band of heroes are isolated in this remote location by the animals. Before they can escape, they must kill all of the mutated monsters within a certain arbitrary time limit for whatever reason. WILL THEY SURVIVE? WILL THEY GET NOOKIE? WILL THEY MISS JUST ONE ANIMAL WHO WILL POP UP IN THE LAST SHOT OF THE MOVIE? Mmmmm, could be.
Well, now. We’ve received at least three of these suckers this year. The degree of success depends upon the casting, dialogue, attention to detail, and subversion of the formula listed above. In “Deep Blue Sea”, Renny Harlin displayed zeal, malice, and a willingness to kill anyone in the movie at any time. If he could have believably had the sharks put on the clothes of their victims and act like humans in front of the sea-base windows to make fun of their prey, he would have. In David E. Kelley’s “Lake Placid”, the killer animal stuff was just an excuse for the writer’s usual parade of quirky white folks.
In “BATS!” writer John Logan barely gets the little stuff right. The cast is largely game, but the final product is as cheesy as anything Roger Corman or AIP ever put out. We get just the basic formula with some mediocre CGI and a bunch of bat puppets. We get neither true horror nor satire. The new horror boom has begun with a series of slasher pics and killer animal opuses. I just hope this means we’re getting the crap first (but somehow I doubt it).