Fifty-three years after being attacked by killer shrews on a remote island, Captain Thorne Sherman is hired by a reality television crew to return to the island in question. The shrews attack again in short order.
A disparate group are trapped on a remote island by a hurricane. On the island, a doctor works to make humans twice as small as we already are. This, apparently, will help prevent over population. Unfortunately, his experiments have also created some giant shrews. As the shrews run out of smaller animals to eat, they move in on the people in the house. Written by
Dan Whitehead <email@example.com>
For its German release the film was titled "Die Nacht der unheimlichen Bestien", which means "The Night of the Scary Beasts". See more »
The narration of the prologue ends with "First in Alaska, and then moving steadily southward, there were reports of a new species, the giant killer shrew." In the film itself, the giants shrews were created, and limited to, an isolated island, presumably off the coast of Texas. See more »
Those who hunt by night will tell you that the wildest and most vicious of all animals is the tiny shrew. The shrew feeds only by the dark of the moon. He *must* eat his own body weight every few hours - or starve. And the shrew devours *everything*: bones, flesh, marrow... everything. In March, first in Alaska, and then invading steadily southward, there were reports of a new species: the giant, *killer* shrew.
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Having seen any number of bad movies, I can state that this is significantly better than most of them, and even better in part than movies not considered bad at all. However, in those aspects in which this movie is bad it is not merely bad, it is awful.
We have the usual formula of two-fisted hero (James Best), damsel in distress (Swedish Ingrid Goude), the damsel's mad-scientist father (non-Swedish Baruch Lumet), and the villain (Ken Curtis). The formula in this case is less clichéd than usual. The hero is fairly articulate and the mad scientist is actually quite urbane, tossing off his creation of hundreds of giant, poisonous, man-eating shrews with the line "unusual experiments lead to unusual results". The dialog is competently written and the acting is above par (with the exception of the Swedish eye-candy, who is at least good eye candy).
The general concept is compact and dramatically efficient: a group of people are trapped first by a hurricane and then by an outside menace in a stronghold which gets less and less strong as time, ammunition and group cohesion all grow short.
However the execution is at times illogical. One problem is that the stronghold is made out of...adobe. On a rainswept island crawling with usable timber? The thrilling conclusion is also somewhat implausible.
The main reason for the film's abysmal reputation is the legendary and quite obvious use of ordinary dogs in bathmats to play the part of giant shrews. I suppose this just has to be overlooked.
As a sidelight, it is interesting to see Dukes of Hazard sheriff James Best tall and handsome as the hero, and it is apparent that producer/villain Ken Curtis labored long and hard in the trenches before gaining fame as Festus.
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