Mammoth (2006)

Rating: D-

Dir: Tim Cox
Star: Vincent Ventresca, Summer Glau, Tom Skerritt, Leila Arcieri

With that title, all we need is a good tag-line (“It’s wooly…and it’s pissed…”), and really, how can you go wrong? Exhibit A, M’lud: this painfully-forced effort which demonstrates, all too clearly, exactly how to go wrong. Firstly, don’t live up to the title. We want copious amounts of raging, extinct pachyderm; not copious amounts of raging, single father-daughter angst, during which time, the mammoth is, apparently, otherwise engaged. The creature here also seems to possess stealth properties, managing to stalk – pun not intended – the main characters through a corn field. Look, I know in Oklahoma, they sing about corn “as high as an elephant’s eye,” but that would still leave head and ears clearly flapping, even over a lyrically-exaggerated crop. Instead, the beast attacks when dramatically essential, then evaporates for 15 minutes of inane chit-chat. You may want to do the same.

To make matters worse, the writers tack on a ridiculous subplot which invokes some kind of alien possession as the cause of the mammoth going berserk. Look: it’s been feeling icey for 40,000 years, now it’s defrosted. Berserkness would, it seems, go with the territory. The monster itself isn’t too bad, and has a nice malevolent look to it – at least, when it’s running down the road by itself. However, the interaction with the humans is so limited as to be embarrassing, and the finale is an over-extended disappointment. The film inserts “jokey” asides to other movies, like The Blob, in an attempt to appear campily self-referential. Unfortunately, the effect is more likely to get you reaching for a copy of the referenced films, which will likely be far, far more entertaining.