After coming up with a decent creature concept, the makers of this chiller erred by not giving their monsters enough characters to terrorize.
Amy Harding (Pamela Gidley) arrives at her parents' remote cabin and finds slimy material on the premises. She rents exterminating equipment at a general store owned by Mrs. Miller (Helen Moulder), where she meets biologist Marshall Clarke (Simon Bossell), who is investigating ecological
abnormalities. Marshall and Amy's concerns prove to have the same source: a strain of mutated lizards that devour Amy's cat and terrorize her and Marshall at the cabin. They kill one of the reptiles and Marshall dissects it, finding that they can develop immunities to weapons used against them. As
a blizzard begins, the pair discovers the corpse of Amy's neighbor Mr. Peterson (Norman Forsey), and crash their car.
Amy and Marshall return to the cabin, where Amy's vicious ex-boyfriend Uri (Valery Nikolaev) arrives. He reveals that Amy's real name is Alex, that the two once pulled cons together and that Amy has stolen a large sum of money from him. Uri is soon killed by the lizards, and the duo escapes in his
car. When it breaks down in the snow, the creatures attack Amy, and Marshall sets the car and the lizards on fire, then carries Amy to Mrs. Miller's store. There, the last of the beasts kills Mrs. Miller before it is dispatched by Marshall and Amy.
The reptilian villains crawl along a lot faster than this movie, which spends too much of its first act following Amy around her cabin and not enough of it developing her character. While the arrival of the lizards and then Marshall promise to perk up interest, the creatures aren't convincing
enough to be sufficiently scary and the ostensible hero proves to be as annoying as he is effective. Focusing on only two people battling the creepy terrors could have worked if the right atmosphere and character intrigue were developed, but Tim Boxell's direction is pedestrian and the script
By the time Uri finally shows up at the hour mark, his arrival feels less like a satisfying narrative twist than an act of storytelling desperation. His demise is a gruesome highlight, though, and in fact, the infrequent splattery demises of humans and lizards provide the film's only excitement.
Like such past horror titles as STRANGE BEHAVIOR (1981), THE FRIGHTENERS (1996), and the Stephen King miniseries THE TOMMYKNOCKERS (1994), this movie uses New Zealand locations to stand in for the American Midwest. (Graphic violence, profanity.)
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Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: After coming up with a decent creature concept, the makers of this chiller erred by not giving their monsters enough characters to terrorize. Amy Harding (Pamela Gidley) arrives at her parents' remote cabin and finds slimy material on the premises. She re… (more)