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Review: Attack of the Killer Shrews! Certainly Feels Like a Troma Movie

Review: Attack of the Killer Shrews! Certainly Feels Like a Troma Movie

In 1959 a sci fi B movie emerged starring dogs dressed up in unconvincing monster masks. They were playing oversized, aggressive shrews created by a scientist during his experiments in the hope that one day humans may be shrunk down to half their size in order to solve overpopulation. What made this film even more ridiculous was that it was played completely straight.

Now fifty plus years later movie goers have been starved of these giant, spiky teethed mammals for far too long. Attack of the Killer Shrews! Is here to fill a void that’s been left for over half a century.

With an estimated budget of $2000 has ambitious filmmaker Ken Cosentino managed to outdo his predecessor’s hilariously futile attempts at creating convincingly menacing hungry shrews?

No. He’s realised the very concept of the original is fundamentally hilarious and has very wisely chosen to play up the ridiculousness.

It begins with a fun stop motion opening sequence in which the shrews emerge from a graveyard, their tombstone marked 1959. Plastic puppets of the monsters attack fleeing action figures whose blood splatters onto the cardboard set. Then who should appear but Tromaville’s Lloyd Kauffman to give a tongue in cheek introduction to the movie.

It certainly feels like a Troma movie with it’s cartoonish sound effects, manically silly performances, fountains of blood and intentionally cheesy score that wouldn’t sound out of place in Toxic Avenger 2. The credits even feature an original rap featuring the line “You shrews/You lose.”

Attack of the Killer Shrews 1

In this very loose remake/parody the shrews were mutated by scientists who were looking for a cure for rabies. “Something went wrong…obviously” mutters one as he lies on the ground bleeding from a gaping neck wound that no one can be bothered to treat.

This time around the shrews aren’t just hungry – they’re horny. Which leads to some farcical handheld action sequences of men being chased in their underpants by fluffy puppets.

It’s hard to say whether the intentionally crude productive values and constant winks to the audience can rival the lightning-in-a-bottle “what were they thinking?!” lunacy of the original. Perhaps this remake’s self awareness makes it lose an element of comedy. It expects us to laugh with it rather than at it, which is a much harder style of comedy to make. The cast certainly do their best and it’s fair to say the five leads carry what can at times be a ploddingly paced movie.

The style and humour reminds of a little known film called Rectuma, a creature feature involving a Godzilla sized anus. I’d recommend seeing Attack of the Killer Shrews! Instead, but both left me wondering “what the hell did I just watch?”