Dir: Tony Randel
Star: Seth Green, Amy Dolenz, Rosalind Allen, Barry Lynch

Even though this dates from 1993, it feels like one of the wave of SyFy original movies that we've seen in the past few years. And, in this case, I mean that as a compliment, because it shares the inventiveness and energy of the upper-tier B-movies, pasted onto a loopy premise with enough potential for fun. And here, you also have effects work from the KNB Efx group, well before they hit the big-time, but still showing their chops. The premise here has a disparate group of city kids, transported to the wilderness for a character-building weekend. Unfortunately, that dumps them on the edge of a marijuana plantation whose operators have been using steroids to boost yields. Unfortunately, this has had a similar effect on some of the local insect life, who are now larger than they were, yet still possess the same craving for blood. The first victim is a dog belonging to one of the kids, but it's not long before two-legged prey is under attack, and everyone from dope-growers to street kids are on the menu, and desperate to escape the rural nightmare.

This is one I could have sworn I'd reviewed before, but must be mistaken. It's still a great deal of fun to watch, not least because the script shares my jaundiced approach to the countryside. Everything there smells bad or is out to kill you, and it's a place best driven through at high-speed on the way from one comfortable recliner to another. If you didn't think so before, this film will convince you of that. with KMB cranking up the gloop factor, with some icky special effects, that still largely stand the test of time, 20 years later. A very young Green leads the cast. and gives the film a nice emotional heart, as he transforms from a plucky outsider into a hero. There are some other decent character arcs as well, and the film does spend a fair amount of time setting up the characters before unleashing the scuttling terror on them - that degree of care is perhaps its biggest advantage over its modern brothers. I'd probably have liked to see a few of the more irritating kids biting the dust - you'll know who I mean if you watch this. However, the deaths here are certainly memorable, and this was pretty much as fun as I remember it being. Still recommended heartily.

[September 2013]

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