September 11, 2019

Flu Birds (2008), Monster Wolf (2010), Wolvesbayne (2009), Headless Horseman (2007). Various Directors. (361 min)

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😼

I’ve reviewed several collections of thematically-similar films from Mill Creek Entertainment and one thing I’ve learned is you can’t really assess them like regular releases. Most of the movies premiered on the SyFy channel, meaning lots of questionable CGI, silly plots and no-name casts supported by a fading star or two trying to stay gainfully employed. So only an idiot would appraise a film like Flu Birds by comparing it to, say, Contagion.

It makes a lot more sense to decide how this collection stacks-up to similar budget bin bonanzas, and in that respect, Savage Nature gets pretty high marks. If nothing else, there’s a bounty of beastly bloodletting.

Unfortunately, the title creatures in Flu Birds look more like flying dinosaurs than fowl gone afoul. An obnoxious batch of twenty-something teenagers are hunted through the woods by mutated, disease-carrying birds. Some get eaten, while those who survive an attack contract a flesh-eating virus that eventually kills them. Former Last Starfighter Lance Guest is on-hand as a local ranger who comes to the rescue. The film is dumb but lively, with a few nicely gruesome kills.

Half the man he used to be.
Monsterwolf is the best of the lot. When a greedy developer (Robert Picardo) violates sacred Indian ground, he unleashes a supernatural hound that commences slaughtering anyone who works for him or sold their land. Jason London – who’s appeared in more of these things than Dean Cain – teams up with an old flame to try and send it back where it belongs, but not before it kills those who more-or-less have it coming. The CG effects are chuckleworthy, but the story itself isn’t bad and Picardo looks like he’s having fun.

Consider this man fetched.
Headless Horseman was directed by Anthony C. Ferrante before hitting the big time – so to speak – with Sharknado. Updating the classic tale in order to feature a gaggle of dumb teenagers, this one could use some of the self-aware silliness Ferrante is famous for, but it’s bloody as hell and some of the make-up effects are well done for its budget.

The one pooch of the package is Wolvesbayne, featuring Jason London’s brother Jeremy as a narcissistic property buyer who gets caught-up in an ongoing war between werewolves and vampires. Interminably boring and highly derivative, it wastes the talents of supporting stars Mark Dacascos and Yancy Butler. Not only that, the film has been badly formatted, with most scenes looking like uncomfortable close-ups.

But three out of four ain’t bad and batting .750 will likely win a game for you. None of the films are gonna make anyone’s top 10 list (or even top 100), but there’s some gory fun to be had here. Comparatively speaking, Savage Nature is one of Mill Creek’s better recent collections of silly cinema.


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