Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Movie Review: KAW

Rated R
3 Slimes
Copyright Sony Pictures 2007


Wayne: Sean Patrick Flanery! The town’s local police sheriff, who is pretty nice guy. He is probably the nicest and all around, good guy sheriff that I have ever seen in a movie before. He is pretty good with a shotgun.

Clyde: Stephen McHattie! Mechanic and bus driver who is a recovering alcoholic. He is a likeable character and another good guy. Sacrificing himself, heroically, to kill a lot of the ravens by blowing up a gas pump.

Cynthia: Wayne’s wife who stumbles upon the secrets about the dying cows. She really doesn’t serve much of a purpose in this movie.

Doc: Rod Taylor! The medical examiner for the local town. He doesn’t do much outside of explaining a few things.

Oskar & Jacob: Mennonite farmers, whose cows have been dying because of mad cow disease. As such, those are what fuel the birds into their murderous rampage.

Betty: Runs a little diner in the town and sort of has a crush on Clyde. Birds kill her, because no bothered to help fend off the ravens that were attacking her.

Doris: A student at the local school who often acts like a bitch. Her behavior leads to 4 people dying. Sadly, she does not killed, despite all movie logic.

Stan: A police officer who isn’t actually good at following orders. Birds peck him to death.

Ravens: Mean birds turned into killer because of mad cow disease. These things are incredibly smart and I really question how many of these things are there. There appears to be over a thousand, but how just many ravens can be found in one little area? Some are shot and blown up; the majority die from the disease after a while.

+ Dogs are scared by a raven’s crow.
+ When a bird is ticked off, it calls for backup.
+ Ravens are very quiet when sneaking up on people.
+ Cows decay very quickly.
+ Birds are overly sensitive to guns.
+ Ravens’ get an intelligence boost from being infected with mad cow disease.
+ Mad Cow Disease turns ravens in homicidal and crazed monsters.

2 min – The raven seems to disapprove of what you are doing.
8 min – This won’t lead anywhere good.
18 min – Way too ominous for me to check out.
26 min – Let’s take a bet, who thinks what they are talking has to do with the killer birds?
34 min – Well things just went from bad to worse.
39 min – This is why I don’t eat hamburgers.
44 min – I’m getting The Birds flashbacks.
46 min – That must be bird talk for: GET THEM!
55 min – Wait! Don’t do that! Making a loud noise with an engine is a sure fire way to bring trouble! Ever seen Jurassic Park 2?!
57 min – Look here you brat, this is your own damn fault that we stuck here!
58 min – Ladies and gentlemen, OH S**T! Here they come!
67 min – Hey, you were right!
80 min – Ok, just how smart are these ravens anyways?
82 min – Ah… why is no one helping her?
86 min – It’s the aftermath of War of the Worlds from what I see.
87 min – Who would be thrilled? Every officer besides him is dead!
88 min – Hold on! That’s BS. This film ending fails.


As you know, I love all things related to killer animals and as such, I am a fan of Hitchcock’s The Birds, despite not actually being a faithful adaption of the short story it was based off of. With that in mind, I present to you a Sci-Fi channel production called KAW. The idea is about a flock of killer ravens. Simple enough, but from what I understand, there is a lot of similar plot elements in this movie that were found in The Birds as well, so some people consider this movie a modernization of that film. However, is it good enough to be a modernization of one of Hitchcock’s best films? Let’s find out!

The film begins with a farmer being murder by a flock of mean ravens. Nothing like getting to the point of things, huh? Meanwhile, a guy named Clyde gets attacked by a bunch of ravens as well while he works on a school bus. All of these incidents bring the local sheriff, Wayne, in to investigate. However, the sheriff is unaware that the birds murdered the man.

Wayne catches up with Clyde outside of a diner to talk him about his incident, after his neighbors reported him shooting his shotgun (Which was to kill the birds). Clyde explains the situation about the birds, but Wayne doesn’t believe him. Oh, this is going to come back to hurt him in the future. So, Clyde leaves then, with a bunch of the town’s school girls on his bus, for a school event, while ravens fly over head. I sense foreshadowing!

Back to the murder victim from earlier, Doc (medical examiner) and Officer Stan examine the body, but aren’t sure about what killed him themselves. Also, Wayne decides to check out Clyde’s home to see if the bird attack really happened, after seeing a ton of ravens near the diner for himself. He wanders around a bit and stumbles upon Clyde’s dog, which is dead and is currently being feast upon a lone raven.

Somewhere else, a couple discovers a truck that crashed underneath a bridge. Inside, a woman is dead in her seat and when the couple turns to leave after their discovery, a ton of ravens are on top of their car waiting for them. You got to love how the birds were able to silently fly and land on the car without them noticing in less than a minute. The couple tries to leave in the car, but the ravens attack and block their view of the road, causing them to crash.

Wayne sees smoke from the crash and heads to the site. The car is on fire and discovers that the woman of the couple is still alive (Ravens are currently making a meal of her leg also), so he takes her back to town. Meanwhile, Cynthia, Wayne’s wife, goes to visit a friend, who is from a family of Mennonite farmers, and make a discovery in the barn. A whole ton of dead cows! Well so much for getting milk and making hamburger at the place.

She also spies two of her friend’s relatives, Oskar and Jacob, out in the back setting a fire, so they can burn the cows. The two of them are arguing about the whole deal about why their cows died, with Oskar saying it is because of a disease and Jacob saying it is because of God. Oh sure, because God just randomly kills cows as punishment to Mennonite farmers. Anyhow, Cynthia takes off, but falls down a well and is trapped. Look on the bright side… I don’t think the birds could see you down there.

Wayne takes the woman back to the station and Stan & Doc arrive to help. Wayne tells Doc about the ravens eating at the girl’s leg, while Doc confirms the first murder victim was killed by being pecked to death. Stan, while glancing out the window, summons them both to look outside. Out there are tons and tons and TONS of ravens and some of them have surround a boy!

Wayne goes to get the boy, while female dies. Well that was pointless. Wayne rushes for the boy as soon as all the birds began to dive bomb them. Stan clears path for them for the building by shooting at the birds, but the birds then attack and kill him. Then in a strange move, the birds then decide to leave for some reason. I say it is weird because they made such a big deal about all gathering in one area for less than 5 minutes and deciding to leave almost instantly after attacking someone for less than a minute.

So with Stan dead and the citizens confused about what the heck is happening, Wayne tells them to head home and just stay home until everything is clear. Very sound advice if you ask me. However, not everyone is well aware of the issue happening. Clyde is currently bringing the kids back to the town after their school event, right back into raven territory. This could be alright though if he brings them straight to their homes, but one of the students, Doris, acting like a complete and utter bitch, throws a basketball at the gear shift and breaks it. This also breaks the bus as well, leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere. Thanks for that Doris; you have now doomed a lot of people.

Later that night, we see Cynthia struggling to get out of the well. Well as long as the ravens don’t notice her… Also, Clyde can’t get the bus to start and they are pretty much still stranded in school bus at night in the middle of nowhere. I saw that before in Jeepers Creepers 2, but at least the birds aren’t as strong as the monster in that movie. As he fixes the bus, the birds come a chargin’!

The birds actually really don’t attack them for some reason; they just zoom on right by like the bus was merely a tree or something. Odd, but ok. In the… non-attack, the birds kill Emma, the school’s coach, which completely bites because Doris should have bitten the dust. After all, she caused them all to get stranded and Emma was a more interesting character.

Back at the farm, Jacob notices Cynthia trapped down the well and helps her out of it. She is completely paranoid about what happened at the farm and Jacob explains what happened. His cows had died earlier and the ravens had come not long after to feast on them. Ah! I get it! They attracted the rage virus then from the cows. Yeah, mad cow disease, not the rage virus, but I frankly find it hard to believe the disease made the ravens go so crazy!

At the bus, Clyde tries again to get the thing running once more, but the ravens yet again show up to attack him and the rest. He hides in the bus with the rest, but the birds decide to pick up rocks and toss them at the windows, in order to smash them open! Damn, these birds are smart! Luckily, Wayne shows up in time (Thank God for randomly driving around) and starts blowing a couple of birds out of the sky. Clyde jumps out to help and Wayne tosses him a rifle.

After shooting out a couple of birds, the rest of the students and Clyde hightail it out of there. However, the birds dive bomb the car again and the vehicle ends up stuck in the mud. Give it up for plot inconvenience folks! They all then make a mad dash through a cornfield to a diner on the other side, where Doc, Oskar, Betty (The owner), and now Cynthia are all at. Along the way, the ravens kill one of the students, who isn’t Doris (Oh come on!).

They all get into the diner and Oskar tells them all about how the cows died from Mad Cow Disease and the birds ate all of the cows. After the birds had nothing left of the cows, they attacked Mennonites. Just as they said that, the ravens come back, after they knocked out the electricity. What gets me is there appear to be over a thousand of them! Where are these birds coming from!?

They barricade the windows, but a couple of ravens get in and attack them. I believe they kill Betty, because no one actually decides to help her. What assholes! Clyde is horrified by her death (He was technically the only one with an excuse to help since the birds were attacking him from all directions) and decides to sacrifice himself. He heads outside and uses the gas pump to spray the birds with gasoline. He then lights a match and lights up the night. The gas pumps explode and wipe out a large chunk of the ravens, while causing the others to take off in fear.

The following the morning, everything is eerie silent. Wayne heads outside to see if the coast is clear. Out there, they find that all the birds have succumbed to the disease and have bit the dust. That’s nice, but the ending completely ruins that by showing a couple of remaining birds attacking Wayne and Cynthia. What the hell?

Well, how was the film? I can certainly say that this was a lot better than the usual killer animal movies I watch. The acting was decent (Though the lead males seemed a bit stiff at times), the story was a halfway decent, the location was good, soundtrack was good and added to the atmosphere well, but what really was great was the special effects used for the scenes with the ravens. I loved how they used a mixture of real ravens and pretty good CGI for when the ravens flew and attack people. It was an ingenious mixture.

The film does, although, have some weak points that keep it from people a truly great experience. For one, the science seemed very questionable with the mad cow disease acting almost like a rage virus. A few unnecessary deaths happened and someone who should have bitten the dust didn’t. Also, the ending seemed pretty lame and still left a couple of unanswered questions when everything was said and done.

Still, it was a fun film in general. Is it a great homage or modernization of The Birds? Not really, but it is a good killer bird film with a bunch of nice and subtle nods to the film and a few others as well. KAW is worth a look and it is maybe worth a purchase for you if you end up enjoying the craziness of the film.

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