Flying monkeys, Bigfoot, giant wasps…what is happening to this world? Whatever it is, it’s kind of fun.
FLYING MONKEYS (2013)
This is one of the more entertaining SyFy Original creature features, if not totally cliché. It opens with a plane transporting a flying monkey. Kind of redundant shipping a flying monkey in a plane, don’t you think? Actually, no one knows it flies, because it looks like a normal, cute little monkey during the day, only shifting into a huge winged monkey at night.
The monkey starts making a CGI transformation at night and flying out the window to kill people around town. The gore is better than average, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of the 1972 TV classic Gargoyles (my blog here). Flying Monkeys might be visually slick, modern, and more in your face with its creatures, but if you compare the two films, you’ll get a clear idea of how much better some older TV horror films were at creating a chilling tone and tense atmosphere than these modern throwaway TV movies.
A group comes to town with special blessed weapons that are supposed to stop the monkey before it multiplies. That doesn’t go as planned. Sure, the body count amps up and CGI and flying monkeys are everywhere, but the lack of references to The Wizard of Oz is insulting. What I like most about the film is that it concludes with just the main characters (Maika, her dad, and her best friend), fighting the main monkey in a house. Any movie that doesn’t call in the army is all right by me.
After watching that disastrous found footage Bigfoot flick Willow Creek (blog here), I was expecting the worst from Exists. Instead, Exists stomps all over Willow Creek with a big, giant, terrifying Sasquatch foot.
Okay, so we have the found footage issue, which has the usual drawbacks, including the “put the fucking camera down!” aspect. There are also a couple of scenes that are so dark and shaky cam that it kind of spoils the terror. But I can overlook that because this shit was intense.
Driving to a cabin in the woods, kids hit something on the road. They get out to see what it was, but a blood trail shows that it ran off into the woods. We get a cheap animal scare once they reach the cabin, the discovery of a trap cellar door (Evil Dead, anyone?), and an outdoor partying montage, complete with a quick shot of man butt and the scorching hot bod of actor Roger Edwards. We also get a quick glimpse of Bigfoot, as well as moans and groans in the forest at night.
The initial scenes of Bigfoot are brilliantly styled to resemble the fleeting glimpses of him in all the most infamous, decades old footage you’ve ever seen. But fear not—before the movie is over, you will see Bigfoot, close-up, and he is terrifying. Not to mention, the attacks on the group begin pretty damn quickly, and they are relentless. Not only is the group in the cabin under attack, but there’s also a fantastic scene in which Bigfoot chases a guy on a bicycle. And the attack on a trailer home is out of control! The film even ends with a moment of suspense that puts most other found footage films to shame.
Now this is how you do a creature feature found footage style. Seems director Eduardo Sanchez has learned a lot from his past found footage mistakes (aka: The Blair Witch Project). In other words, it’s okay to actually show something scary when you make a horror film, even if it is found footage….
If SyFy Network creature features had a better budget, they would be Stung. This isn’t just an ordinary killer bee flick—when these suckers sting you, you morph into a giant wasp! Awesome.
Paul (Matt O’Leary of the Mother’s Day and Sorority Row remakes) and Julia are catering a garden party at an old mansion in the woods when the swarm of wasps attacks. Within minutes, people start turning into giant wasps! A small group of survivors—including Lance Henriksen, naturally—is trapped in the mansion. And like something out of a zombie flick, wasps are trying to bust through the doors and windows…and someone has been stung and is trying to keep it under wraps.
While Stung won’t blow you away, it’s a fun flick that’s worth a watch. The CGI visual effects are great, the gore/ick factor is delightful, there’s plenty of cheesy action, and there’s even some humor without pulling us into total horror comedy territory.