SyFy channel has it’s own range of tv shows and low budget movies made for television. They also dabble into the horror/supernatural genre and today I watched two of their 2013 movies. The first one is Scarecrow which stars Lacey Chabert (who’s only other work I was familiar with is as a 14-15 year old in Lost In Space and my how
they she has grown) & Robin Dunne and is about a legend of a monster in a barn in a small town that comes alive and haunts the members of a single family that owns the place. 100 years have passed and the monster has not been seen or killed anyone but the legend lives on and each year in October the town has a festival based on the scarecrow like monster but almost everyone has forgotten how the legend got started. As the movie starts two teenagers Chad & Marcy from the local school head out to the barn next to the abandoned farmhouse to scare their enemies Nicki and Tyler for posting sex pictures of them on the internet. Inside the old barn they climb the rickety ladder when it breaks and both of them fall through the floor and crash into an unknown and dark basement. Marcy has badly injured her leg and blood is flowing everywhere and as Chad tries to help a large dark hand comes out and grabs Chad’s head and crushes it. Next an unseen creature heads for the screaming Marcy.
A day later school teacher Aaron Harris is taking 6 students who are in detention – Tyler (Richard Harmon), Nicki (Julia Maxwell), Daevon (Reilly Dolman), Calvin (Iain Belcher), Beth (Brittney Wilson), and Maria (Nicole Muñoz) – to the old barn and help him take the old scarecrow from there to town. As they reach there Aaron’s ex girlfriend Kristen Mills also arrives to help – the abandoned cornfield & farmhouse belongs to her family. Also at the scene is Eddie, Aaron’s former best friend who also liked Kristen which caused a fall out among them. Kristen called him to join in so that Aaron & Eddie could finally patch things up. The teens go to the scarecrow as the adults stay behind, arguing. As the three reach the scarecrow they find that Nicki & Tyler are missing and while the look for them a creature attacks & grabs Beth, dragging her away. As the other Kristen finds Beth, who is still alive, but is dragged herself but is found by Aaron & Eddie. All of them run into the old house and they board up the doors and windows as something is trying to get in. They see Tyler’s dead body (Nicki is presumed dead but is never shown) and see the creature – a dark, smoky creature (kinda of a cross between 1999’s Mummy & Mama) that glides in and out of the ground and moves very fast. Daevon & Calvin are killed while trying to outwit the creature and the rest make it out in a truck but the creature appears outta nowhere, crashing their vehicle and Eddie is killed a bit later.
So now Aaron, Kristen, Beth & Maria run through the woods to a house for help where an old man tells them about the legend of the scarecrow monster of the Mills’ family. The creature of unknown origin kills indiscriminately but was trapped under the barn by Kristen’s relative over a 100 years ago and the festival originated as a reminded of the evil that lurks there but over time almost everyone has forgotten. The old man tries to escape from the house in fear but is killed by the creature. Beth tries to hod Kristen hostage saying that the creature might stop if they hand her over to it. However Beth is killed when she gets sucked along with the creature into a machine that cuts crops. Maria is killed when the creature impales her as she is being carried by Aaron on his back and it injures him as well. Kristen helps Aaron into a boat tied upon a dock but he too is killed by the creature as it stalks her as it’s final kill. She manages to elude it and blows up the boat with the creature trapped in it when she uses a light and throw it into the boat that’s leaking flammable fuel. The movie ends as Kristen, the lone survivor, walks sadly away.
The second SyFy movie I watched today was Tasmanian Devils also from 2013 and starring a host of science fiction tv show regulars. Danica McKellar (yes Winnie Cooper herself), Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5), Mike Dopud (Stargate Universal & BSG), Rekha Sharma (V & BSG), Terry Chen, Roger Cross. 6 rich adults are in a helicopter headed to a dangerous & forbidden section of the Tasmanian woods to indulge in some base jumping off a high cliff. First timer Stone (Olympian Apollo Ohno) jumps off to battle his nerves and fails to pull his chute in time and hence plummets into the trees and falls into a hole in the ground and lands on a spiky stone formation that goes through him. A bleeding Stone sees that he is in an underground chamber with lots of cave paintings and his blood, that falls off the spike into these holes in the ground awakens something supernatural and ancient. His screams are heard by the 5 who come looking for him and Anderson goes down to check on their friend only to find his partly eaten carcass. This spooks the 5 friends and they decide to head back to civilization. However they run into the path of 3 forest rangers who responded to the sightings of the helicopter headed to a forbidden zone.
The rangers arrest the 5 and bind their hands and put them into the back of the truck, despite their protests and of their friend being killed by some creature. Simon also tries to bribe his way out but is rejected. THe head ranger Whitfield & Danz check out the underground cave, while Alex monitors the 5 tourists and see the paintings but still head into town. As evening falls the truck stop as Whitfield spots a wild creature in their path and tries to shoot it with his shotgun. The creature double back and attacks him from behind killing him. As Danz & Alex go off to find him, Danz is attacked by the creature and it then runs after Alex. Jayne manages to unbind himself and starts the truck and crashes it against the creature killing it and saving Alex but the truck is busted as it crashes into a tree. The 6 of them climb up a tree to spend the night as they hear more roars from creatures. The next morning they hear moans from Danz who wasn’t killed but got himself pinned to a tree as a shark piece of wood has gone through his cheek. His loud moans alert one of the creatures and it kills him and then attacks the 6 who make their way to the damaged truck to collect flares and guns. Jayne traps the creature inside the truck by making it chase him into it and Alex kills it with a flame thrower. They then go to the underground cave and Alex investigates the cave paintings – it seems that an ancient legend about sacrificing a human with it’s blood will awaken 6 ancient creatures, forerunners of the Tasmanian devil but much fiercer & larger in size. These supernatural creatures will kill anything that makes noise.
They try and trap the remaining 4 creatures inside the cave by luring them in to it and blowing it up but they escape and Lisbon is killed. Her husband Walsh is the next to be killed as Simon and Anderson get to their chopper and try and pick up the rest but a creature jumps into the partly open door and pulls Simon out, killing both him & itself as they hit the propeller blades and crashing the chopper. Anderson escapes and the remaining 3 trap one of the creatures in the chopper and make it explode and then head to an outpost. Anderson manages to kill one more creature but is killed by the final creature and then it topples the cabin in which Alex & Jayne are hiding. They manage to trap the creature between planks and as it climbs out Alex uses the final 3 bullets to kill it. Jayne & Alex can finally relax as they walk in the night headed towards civilization.
Despite poor CGI effects, especially in the second film I found both the films watchable and good for made for tv movies. The budgets for these films are pretty low and they employ working class actors and give them a chance to be in the main roles and showcase what they can do. I give them both a 7 outta 10, with an eye to the fact that they are what they are – low budget (2.5 million each I think) tv movies. Against normal films they are a 6!