Monday, November 11, 2013

Tasmanian Devils

2013  ***

I wound up watching this flick because it was one of the thumbnails at the end of the We Are What We Are trailer that JPX posted.  I thought it was the trailer but it turned out to be the entire movie, and once I started watching it was too late.  Not because the movie is especially good, mind you.  I just got hooked.

The opening is heavily reminiscent of Hell No:  The Sensible Horror Movie, as six friends take a helicopter ride into a Tasmanian nature reserve so they can illegally base jump somewhere in complete isolation.  They are so crazy stoked about this idea it's like the copter is filled with nitrous oxide; they are super proud of themselves at the level of fun they stand to have.  They are equally stoked about the huge wad of cash they have to bribe any officials who might arrest them for trespassing -- this cash wad is later revealed to be fifty thousand dollars.  I instantly didn't care what happened to these assholes because they had 50 grand to blow and they couldn't think of anything better to do with it besides sneaking into the woods.  Visions of the Hell No cast partying at Club Med echoed in my brain.

Nevertheless, whoever wrote this turkey was no dummy.  There's a brief character study of Stone, the cash wad guy, who's never base jumped.  He balks at going first, his friends are cool about it, he walks a few steps away, has a moment with himself and turns and jumps yeah WOO!  And he completely fucks it up, opens his chute late, gets his ass handed to him by some trees and then punches through the ground into a magic sacrificial cave thingie with a big ol' pointy impaling rock.  I checked the time and it was right at the five minute mark.  I nodded in approval.

"Psst.  Hey you, Rock.  Twenty large and we forget all about this..."

His blood turns on some glowing cave holes and pretty soon the gang is being chased by shamefully crappy CG monsters.  If I had any chance of bailing on this, it was out the window the moment Danica McKellar showed up.  You might have a crush on her because of Winnie on The Wonder Years,, but my favorite DMcK moment was when she showed up on The West Wing as an emerging character's supercute, supersmart sister.

But I like to pretend this still comes from an unaired episode of  The Wonder Years.

I already feel a bit self conscious about how much I've discussed boobs this 'thon, but in the interest of whatever counts on this blog as journalistic integrity I must report the following.  Danica McKellar's boobs are like characters in this movie, quietly trying their hardest to climb up and replace her head.  This goes unnoticed by all players, despite the early loss of her jacket, at least one soaking, and the eventual loss of her shirt (I forget why, probably to make a torch or bind a wound or something) leaving just the tight white tank top.   There I said it.

Thanks to Jennifer Connelly and Career Opportunities for paving the way.

Tasmanian Devils was an interesting random dip of the toe into the schlock-filled pool that is this SyFy monster flick phenomenon.  This wave of B minus movies has a Roger Cormanish core to it, and that deserves some respect.  However, this movie seems to be low even on their totem pole, and it's hard to see that it even tries to bring anything new to the table.   It is decently paced, and it's amusing to see the characters make both good and bad decisions, sometimes displaying impressive smarts and then depressing stupidity thirty seconds later.

I give this one the most level sideways thumb I can; it won't waste your time but neither will it change your life.


JPX said...

I started watching this after you first mentioned it but quickly bailed once the CG monsters showed up. I just couldn't do it. Your review suggests that this was a wise decision. Like you, I instantly hated all the characters. When they revealed that they had $50,000 to bribe officials I was enraged. For $10,000 I could have a new driveway!

"Danica McKellar's boobs are like characters in this movie, quietly trying their hardest to climb up and replace her head."

I laughed out loud when I read that.

AC said...

so... what's the rating if boobs are not of especial interest? or have we stopped doing the boob ratings bump altogether?

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Great review for a mediocre movie! I feel simultaneously intrigued and underwhelmed.

That guy in the Jennifer Connolly pic looks like the Pee Wee Herman imitator Catfreeek shared a few days ago.

Catfreeek said...

I must admit I have a soft spot for these SyFy flicks but I can only take them in small doses. Entertaining review.

Octopunk said...

That's an interesting question, AC, but I didn't really base my rating on an accumulation of bumps (sorry), just on the movie's whole package, which is thoroughly average.