HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Randy Daudlin

Starring:
Tom Sizemore
Wendy Anderson
Amber Cull

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After a fire-scarred millionaire villain injects a poor research doctor with his own healing serum, the doctor mutates into a badass rat-dog-man hybrid with a wicked taste for human flesh. Then some maintenance guys, led by oportunistic Vince (Sizemore), run across the creature while stealing medical supplies from an old abandoned hospital... and well, carnage, gut munching and government conspiracies quickly follow.
Is it good movie?
Now that is one wacky plot! And it makes for a damn fine entertaining creature feature. Tom Sizemore is his usually top-notch, mercurial self, and the whole shebang was filmed in Hamilton, Ontario in an old asylum! Nice! Being the big supporter of original genre material here in Canada that I am, this and other releases from Archetype Films seem to be on the ball and have the potential (along with other kickass genre flicks like Slither and the Decoys duo) to kick start the quiet north back into the screaming bloody capital of horror that it was on the cusp of becomming in the 70's and early 80's. But enough of that, back to the movie.

While the movie is heavy with the homage sauce (the opening sequences reminded me so much of Sam Raimi's Darkman and Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, and that's just the start), this first writing/directing effort from effects guy Randy Daudlin was just as much an original beastie that roared and rampaged right from the opening shot to the dastardly twist at the end. From his previous effects work on Archtype Films releases as Heartstopper, UKM and 5ive Girls, I knew the dude had talent. This time he brings it to both the script and the screen, and I was both impressed and entertained.

Much like Alien, we don't see much of the creature for most of the flick, which emphasizes its creepy, bloody goodness in terms of the tension level and the pacing of the story. When we do catch glimpses of the poor mutated doctor, it is done with fine darkness shrouded, rubber suit glory and none of that full-frame CGI crap that we see far too much of these days. The gore effects are also practical and well done, with torn open torsos and severed heads being the main dishes of the day. The shots were well done, with atmospheric lighting and great use of the location.

The acting is nicely done, but weak in a few places. Sizemore plays a more low-key role here than he usually does, and I read that he even quit the production at one point (for a couple of days) only to return (the whole mess is chronicled on his reality-tv show Shooting Sizemore). Other fine performances are put in by Canadian actresses Wendy Anderson and Amber Cull. On the downside of acting, the villain and the homeless dude with the Jamaican accent rubbed me the wrong way, and their characters were just off.

Aside from being a little too cliched in the plot department, this movie was a fine first effort from Daudlin and a great addition to the current trickle of quality original horror work being done in Canada these days. Like I said, as a genre-oriented studio, Archtype Films is putting out good, entertaining and fun horror flicks of the kind I grew up on. While they're not always the best works of cinema out there, they are always good for a scare, a gross-out, or a laugh. Can't wait for The Mad, which has Daudlin back as effects guru. Hell, I can't wait for more from these guys, period.
Video / Audio
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.78:1.

Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) with Closed captioning. I had some audio problems, with dialogue being far lower in volume than the music and effects, but it didn't wreck the flick.
The Extras
We get a 27 minute Making Of Featurette with cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes stuff. I liked the insight into the story development, such as the original sewer location in the script. As well we have the Trailer for the film, and trailers for other canadian original releases like Dead Mary, Living Death, UKM and the excellent looking mad-cow zombie flick The Mad.
Last Call
Recommended for fans of old school, mutant creature survival horror, and a damn fine Saturday night drinking movie. Original Canadian horror is on the upswing, and the guys behind this film and the otehrs advertised on the disc ar aiming to be a part of that upswing in a big way. Great camera work, spooky location, workable actors, a kickass rubber monster and some bloody gore make this one a fun ride, that while being a little derivitive and cliched, still had enough balls to whoop my ass with an unexpected ending and a tight package all around. Now this is some funny AND scary shit!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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