It’s back to the late 00s for a bunch of direct-to-SyFy flicks starring a variety of familiar faces. Let’s just get this over with.
EYE OF THE BEAST (2007)
This is generally a more polished outing than the usual SyFy creature features…mostly because you barely see the creature, so there’s little chance for it to suffer from bad CGI.
In other words, this shit is boring.
In the first scene, a couple making out in a boat at night is attacked by tentacles. Cool.
Then James Van Der Beek comes to town as a scientist. He hooks up with the pretty sheriff. They clash with the local fishermen. There are racial tensions. A few more people die.
Eventually they go out on a boat to hunt the creature…a big squid. At last we get to see the squid face up close. Looks cool. Reminds of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. They kill it. The end.
It’s another generic, nature gone mad SyFy original. Original is really the wrong word for these films since there’s nothing original about the cookie cutter plots.
Snakes have been genetically enhanced in a lab by Corbin Bernsen. They escape. They end up in a small town. They kill a variety of people, You know it’s bad when the gore looks cool, but the CGI snakes overlaid on top of it ruins it.
Then a bunch of different locals band together to stop the snakes while running all over town. Tara Reid leads the charge. I was hoping Mercedes McNab, Harmony of Buffy fame, who usually brings a load of fun to any horror movie she’s in, would do the same here.
Instead, she literally comes in for a sex scene and gets killed while the guy is showering after. What a waste of a Buffy alum.
RISE OF THE GARGOYLES (2009)
Hottie Eric Balfour has a rather impressive horror film and television resume, but SyFy original Rise of the Gargoyles is the bottom of the barrel. Not because it’s a SyFy original, but because it is beyond uninspired.
I can’t imagine a script this bland and cliché with the most flat characters being picked up for production, but here it is. Balfour plays a teacher who wrote a failed book about gargoyles. Imagine his luck when he and his girl sneak into a church to explore and accidentally release a gargoyle locked in the basement.
The CGI gargoyle isn’t even that bad, but we just don’t get enough of it, and there are barely any kills.
The plot goes nowhere, and basically comes down to Balfour and his small team of gargoyle hunters, including a priest, needing to send the gargoyle back to where it came from. There’s simply nothing here for me to talk about. Balfour doesn’t even take his shirt off.
HOUSE OF BONES (2010)
House of Bones is cheesy SyFy original silliness and I’m so here for it. Going for the trends of its time, it enlists Charisma Carpenter of Angel and Buffy fame as its star, and it’s about a ghost hunting show that explores an infamous haunted house.
The first scene is the perfect cliché–a kid’s ball goes into the house and he goes in after it. Yay!
Then we meet all our ghost hunters–a bunch of guys and Charisma, the psychic. Hey, I love me some Charisma, and she’s the reason I bought this one, but man is she phoning this one in.
Typical shit happens early on, mostly involving the crew setting up and exploring, as well as bugs appearing in unexpected places that are totally expected to horror veterans.
There are a couple of kills and disappearances that are entertaining enough, but nothing all that spooky happens as a series of sloppy events unfolds just to fill time. However, the premise is fun despite being unoriginal–the house is alive! And that’s because someone buried bodies in the walls for occult reasons in the past. Awesome.
Oozing holes, people getting pulled into and crawling out of them, and other enjoyable horror elements take place in the final act, when the pace at last picks up as the crew goes on a hunt for the blueprints of the house.