Movies: Return of the Killer Shrews (2013)

This homage to The Killer Shrews, one of the cheesiest 1950s horror films does more than recycle the plot with newfangled CGI effects. It updates the storyline to feature a reality show crew on a remote island, then followed them as they encounter the ravenous shrews in comically horrific ways.

As the film begins, Thorne Sherman (James Best, reprising his role from the original film) and his first mate (Rick Hurst) arrive on the island with supplies. While they wait to get paid, some of the realty show crew members mysteriously disappear. It’s the killer shrews, in all their bad CGI glory, hacking the hapless visitors to bits.

John Schneider (who, like Best, is also an alum of TV’s Dukes of Hazzard) plays Johnny Reno, the reality show’s star. The name alone tells you everything you need to know about the character, a cardboard caricature of the vapid Hollywood star, and Schneider has fun during his short time onscreen. Bruce Davison (X-Men) co-stars as the island’s resident “mad scientist.”

As a whole, the reality show caricatures fall flat and the first half of the film moves slowly. It takes awhile to warm-up to Shrews’ handful of likable characters, notably Jennifer Lyons as wisecracking camerawoman Mickey and Jason Shane Scott as show coordinator Sam.

But the film includes a jungle hideaway similar to the one from the original Killer Shrews, and flashbacks clips to the original film are included at a few critical points. If you’re a fan of vintage sci-fi, you’ll appreciate the tie-in. Return of the Killer Shrews is the kind of campy flick featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, except it’s in on the joke, too.

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Jade Blackmore

Jade Blackmore has written about classic rock, hard rock/metal and indie films for EarCandy Mag, Rock Confidential, Cinema Sentries, Perfect Sound Forever and Entertainment Today, among others. Her past day jobs in the entertainment industry included stints with Mix Magazine, Bourne Music and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in Los Angeles. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.