On the last working day of Sheriff Wayne, his small town is attacked by blood thirsty ravens that eat human flesh. Meanwhile his wife Cynthia visits a farm where a Mennonite family lives to say farewell to her friend Gretchen and discloses a dark secret about the origin of the fierce ravens.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Oskar says they are not Amish, but are Mennonite. They dress plain and paint the chrome on their cars black (Black Bumper Amish). They are a very conservative sect of Mennonite. Yet the girl, Gretchen, does not wear a bonnet or net on her head. This would not be. Mennonite women in a community this conservative would wear at least a lace net. See more »
No animals or birds were harmed in the production of this motion picture. See more »
Rather than a "horror" movie, I see Kaw as a solid entry into the category of sf/adventure films that has a small group of believable, sympathetic characters battling in a logical manner against an outlandish threat. This genre includes many of the better creature features of the 1950s, and many subsequent imitations. (It: the Terror from Beyond Space comes to mind; so does the Tremors series.)
What makes Kaw an adventure film, not a horror film, is the mood and, above all, the attitude of the characters: the protagonists react not with terror but with intelligence and fortitude. Kaw thus has very little in common with Hitchcock's The Birds, other than... well, the birds. Where Hitchcock's film is deliberately calculated to feel eerie and hopeless, Kaw is more down-to-earth. The survival of the species is never at stake; it's a purely local issue, and the characters treat it as a challenge to overcome. There's even a remarkably credible explanation of the birds' behavior, something conspicuously omitted by Hitchcock. (The inclusion of Rod Taylor in the cast of Kaw is a funny in-joke, though. Nice to see him again; he's looking old, but healthy.)
The settings for Kaw add to the appeal. It seems to have been filmed in and around a genuine small rural town, and benefits from the muddy, fresh-air feel of that locale. The camera work is good, and the acting is uniformly excellent. Flannery, a vastly under-rated actor, does his usual fine work. But the real star is McHattie, as the smelly but ultimately admirable Clyde. The birds themselves are suitably menacing, not an easy thing to pull off, especially on a limited budget. The filmmakers have used real birds and lots of clever cutting to limit their reliance on CGI. If anything, this gives the film even more of a real-world feel.
Kaw is well above the usual low standards of made-for-TV production, and a fine addition to a great genre. Come prepared to suspend your disbelief just a bit, and have a big bowl of popcorn ready.
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