We’ve all been told not to judge something by it’s cover. However, when you see a title like Metal Shifters, Camel Spiders, or Ice Quake, you should probably have an inkling that you’re about to watch a B movie. For the B-lovers out there, these three titles pack some ridiculous moments that are sure to entertain.
Just when you thought there weren't enough movies about Idaho, Paul Ziller brings B-movie lovers a little gem called Metal Shifters. Having enjoyed an array of farfetched Syfy movies, I can usually take any plot line with a grain of salt. However, with this film, I found myself pondering some simple, moral questions. My biggest quandary stems from the premise of the movie: if a strange, metal object plummeted from the sky, would your first thought be “I wonder how much I could sell that for?” Probably not.
For brothers Ethan and Jake, though, a hunk of extraterrestrial junk could be the answer to their money woes. When they happen upon some space debris, they sell it to the local scrap yard, unwittingly providing the perfect breeding ground for some murderous hitchhiking intergalactic bacteria.
With strangely predictable writing and CGI bordering on insulting, Metal Shifters is a mediocre film at best. The only aspect of the film that made watching it worthwhile was the cast. Of course, you’re not going to see blockbuster names like Brad Pitt, but there are a few familiar faces like Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Chris Gauthier (Eureka) and Kevan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis). This bunch does the impossible, making something as mindless as Metal Shifters watchable.
Of the three films mentioned in this review, Metal Shifters was the most enjoyable. It’s nice to see acceptable acting, believable emotion, and some practical effects in a new B-movie. Metal Shifters leaves a lot to be desired in the special features department, including only a behind-the-scenes look and a trailer.
Film score: 1.5/5 Disc Score: 1.5/5
If there was ever a need for “‘transitional” horror flicks for children, Paul Ziller’s Ice Quake would be the cardinal film for the genre. Taking that ever important step between The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and Gremlins, Ice Quake will introduce the whole family to the idea of death and maiming without overexposing anyone to blood or guts. There are even a few family values and morals thrown into the mix. Besides, what better way is there to ease a kid into horror than with a gigantic methane explosion, or ... you know know what I mean. The only real need for parental supervision would be to explain that the terrible CGI squiggles coming from the ice are stinky, deadly gases.
Along with the effects, the acting in Ice Quake is subpar to say the least. However, considering that some of the actors from the film are much more believable in their other roles, one can only blame the script. If you feel uncomfortable watching actors like Victor Garber (Alias) or Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill) play a part, it’s obvious that something fell short.
Ice Quake isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t something I’d actively seek out. This was easily my least favorite film out of the group. Unless you have a precocious child who’s curious about the darker things in life, this is a film that can be safely overlooked. Ice Quake has minimal Bonus features including a behind the scenes look at the film and a trailer.
Film Score: 1/5 Disc Score: 1.5/5
You’ve probably heard some of the urban legends about camel spiders. Maybe someone’s told you they scream when they maliciously run towards you, or even that a single bite is instantly lethal. Camel spiders are indeed real, scary looking creatures, but when it comes down to it, a lot of what we’ve heard is pure tomfoolery. Of course, that doesn’t mean creature feature Genius Roger Corman can’t envelope viewers into this absurd folklore.
The Camel Spiders story isn’t too imaginative: Captain Sturges (Brian Krause) unwittingly brings a few of these beasts back from the Middle East. When they are freed in a unfortunate collision, these creatures are free to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting public. When we watch a Corman film like Camel Spiders, though, we aren’t in it for the plot, we watch these movies for the unique creatures and amusing kills. Camel Spiders may not have the best nor the most interesting scenes, but it will tide you over until the next creature feature.
The camel spiders are completely CGI and are inconsistent, which is utterly disappointing. We may be used to the CG monsters like Dinoshark or Supergator, because there just aren’t too many ways to get a monster like that on screen. However, when it’s possible to use a real creature, anything loaded onto a green screen isn’t going to cut it. I wish an actual bug would have made it into a few scenes; nature is much scarier than anything computer generated, hands down.
Roger Corman has his hand in quite a few exceptional movies, unfortunately, Camel Spiders will join the ranks of his easily forgettable films. Of the three, this movie had the best kills and the most interesting foe. When compared to the feeling evoked in Metal Shifters though, Camel Spiders leaves you wanting more. The Camel Spiders Blu-ray doesn’t contain any special features.
Film Score: 1.5/5 Disc Score: 1/5