For those who don’t know, this Wes Craven-produced horror flick stars M-Rod, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning, Eric Lively and Hill Harper as a gaggle of college kids, who travel by seaplane to a remote island, to blow off some steam before their finals… only to discover that the idyllic vacay spot is also home to a vicious pack of super-smart, military issue mutts! I think you can probably put the rest of the plot together for yourselves. First there’s “Oohs” and “Ahhs”, then later there’s running and screaming.
I’ll admit, I’d never heard of this movie before I spotted the (ex-rental) DVD on the shelf at my local s/hand shop, but I actually found myself enjoying it a lot more than I expected to. I’m not sure all of the gags I laughed at were necessarily meant to be funny, but I laughed at ‘em all the same! From the brooding photo on the cover, and the pull-quote comparing it (erroneously) to Night of the Living Dead, I assumed the whole thing would be quite dark and murky, like so many of the cheaper entries in this genre… but they clearly spent a fair bit of money on this production, and most of the action actually takes place during daylight hours, the better to show off the gorgeous scenery and good-looking cast. Hurrah! I think it was quite smart of them to use ordinary-looking dogs as the “monsters” here, because it cuts down on the need to conceal a puppety creature in shadows all the time, or throw a lot of fakey CGI at the screen. That said, if you’re a serious dog-lover, or you’re squeamish about watching (fictional) violence against animals, then this definitely isn’t something you’ll want to rent anytime soon.
As for the human cast members, it was refreshing to see M-Rod playing a civilian for once… still a very fit, capable, kick-ass civilian, but a little girlier than usual, with a couple of kissing scenes and some playful boyfriend/girlfriend banter. I’ve gotten so used to seeing Hudson playing a naive doofus in Rules Of Engagement, it was a little jarring to see him as a too-cool-for-school bad boy here… but he carried it off pretty well. And I’ll probably always think of Manning as the chick that Katey Sagal clocked with a skateboard in Sons of Anarchy, but she has some pretty memorable scenes here too! Apparently in real-life, she’s released two albums-worth of electro-pop music with her brother, under the moniker of Boomkat, with a slew of tracks gracing various TV and movie soundtracks! Coolness.
Note: M-Rod and Manning are the only two cast members credited on the front cover of the DVD, even though Manning’s photo is the smallest of the four featured characters (Eric Lively isn’t pictured at all, poor chap). Naturally, M-Rod dominates, with a photo twice as large as anyone else’s!