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The depletion of the earth's ozone layer causes animals above the altitude of 5000 feet to run amok, which is very unfortunate for a group of hikers who get dropped off up there by helicopter just before the quarantine is announced. Written by
Brian J. Wright <email@example.com>
This film was sometimes mistaken as a sequel to William Girdler's Grizzly (1976), mostly because it has basically the same plot, cause director, production and distribution company, producer and features Richard Jaeckel and Christopher George, who appeared in "Grizzly". There was a sequel made for Grizzly (1976) called Grizzly II: The Concert (1987), but it never got properly completed and never released into theaters and home video / DVD. A work-print has surfaced of the film on the Internet. See more »
Ozone-layer depletion affects more than animals; it affects plants, too. Yet, in the movie, the plants seem to be in good condition. See more »
William Girdlers' excellent follow-up to "Grizzly".
Human beings, take note: all the aerosol cans you're using are having a huge impact on the Earths' ozone layer. Now there's a big hole in it and the suns' radiation is driving the animals that live at high altitudes into a crazed state. A group of back packers going on a hike in the High Sierras find this out the hard way. Led by hard-nosed, practical mountain guide Steve Buckner (the always engaging Christopher George), they must deal with attacks by mountain lions, wolves, and birds of prey.
Sadly, this was the penultimate movie for cult director Girdler; who knows how many more cool movies he might have had in him? Here he works with some of the same cast and crew members from "Grizzly", his "Jaws on land" killer bear flick, and creates what is one of the best entries in the "nature strikes back" genre that flourished in the 1970s. It's genuinely harrowing at times, delivering a lot of good thrills. The animal action, supervised by Lou Schumacher and stunt coordinator Monty Cox, is first rate. Lalo Schifrins' score is magnificent, as you would expect from the talented composer. And the gorgeous rural scenery is very well photographed in widescreen by Robert Sorrentino. There's one obvious ropey green screen sequence along the way.
George is well supported by his wife and frequent co-star Lynda Day George (as an anchorwoman), Richard Jaeckel (as a professor), Michael Ansara (as Georges' fellow guide), and Ruth Roman (as a city woman taking the trip with her son). Jon Cedar, Paul Mantee, Walter Barnes, Andrew Stevens, Kathleen Bracken, Bobby Porter, Susan Backlinie, and Michelle Stacy co-star, but the person who steals the show is a scenery devouring Leslie Nielsen, as a macho advertising man who starts out being a major jerk (baiting George by repeatedly calling him "hotshot", and addressing Ansaras' Indian character as "Kemo Sabe") and ends up becoming a full blown lunatic, as much a victim of the radiation as the animals. You'll want to see his memorable scene with a bear.
Some B movie watchers regard "Day of the Animals" as so-bad-it's-good, or merely bad, but this viewer found it well made overall and worthwhile.
Eight out of 10.
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