"If that means saving the others Jon. I'll let it take you."
Lions, tigers and bears oh my. Well actually there's no threat of tigers and bears, but however lions feature prominently in this gripping, heart-stopping little under siege survival feature that sees a family holding up in their plantation homestead while outside await some hungry predators with a taste for human flesh. Five years of drought has stricken Africa, grass eaters have vanished and a new prey has become the hunted. What surprised me about "Savage Harvest" (and not that it was based upon actual events) was how immensely intense and convincing the attacks scenes were (unsparing, bloody and with ferocity) and going a long way to cementing that success was how well trained the lions came across. The lions are truly the stars here. From this you are thrown right in to the taut situation with the family and it's made the more harrowing (projected by a stirring score) as the characters are treated with respect, believability and constant development. Sure it might be a familiar set-up, but there's no denying that it's effectively handled with some very good performances by Tom Skerritt (who's quite likable in the lead), Michelle Phillips (looking quite ravishing) and Shawn Stevens. The pacing can be a stop and go affair, as when it wasn't focusing on the lingering threat it's a waiting game. Time was spent either trying to figure a way out of the problem, or family dramas would come to the forefront and then to keep everyone in a good mood is was time to sing some "Beatles" classics until an unexpected guest drops in. Director Robert Collins delivers authentic grit from the surroundings and crafts an unsettling sense that doesn't waver. A good build-up (plenty of lion POV shots) and a just as good payoff that keeps you involved to the very end.
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