Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I absolutely love the Sci-Fi Channel original movies. Well, I don’t actually love to watch them, per se (in the history of my life, I don’t believe I ever used the word ‘per se’), But I do love what Sci-Fi original movies represents and that my friends is hope. Hope that one day you too can become a filmmaker. After spending an evening with ‘Raptor Island’ or ‘Pterodactyl’ you come away feeling that you don’t have to be on fries your whole life and maybe, just maybe you can be a filmmaker too. So seriously, if you know a guy who is halfway proficient in some kind of 3D application and can make, hell I don’t know, a CGI rat, and you can somehow find access to Coolio and / or Lorenzo Lamas you are almost guaranteed in getting the Sci-Fi channel to pick up your film. Heck, I bet Lorenzo and Coolio will find you if you’re patient. This is not to say that all Sci-Fi originals are garbage. I happened to really enjoy ‘Minotaur’ and ‘Abominable’ and despite the title, ‘Frankenfish’ wasn’t so bad either, but more times than not Sci-Fi originals leave much to be desired. This brings us the Sci-Fi original release of ‘Kaw’, which as regular old movie is completely average and mediocre, but that also places it in the top five of Sci-Fi original movie presentations.

Welcome to small town USA where Sheriff Wayne (Sean Patrick Flannery) is enjoying his last day as head of security in this Podunk villa and heading off to the Big City with his advanced PhD possessing wife Cynthia (Kristin Booth, who the IMDB informs us will next be seen in the comedy titled ‘Young People F**king’. Seriously). This being Sheriff Wayne’s last day, what could possibly happen? Why how about crazed flock of ravens attacking and killing an old dude on his tractor? Sheriff Wayne is like ‘say what?….’, but that’s only the beginning of this anti-glorious last day for Wayne as the Ravens also attack former drunk Clyde (Steven McHattie), but he used to be a drunk so when he tells folks he was attacked by a flock a mad birdies, nobody wants to believe his ass.

These Ravens have fallen completely off the chain about now and have killed a yuppie couple, as signified by them driving a BMW, an Amish chick, a dog, a deputy, and a basketball coach with more to follow. My God! With killer birds on the loose, where’s Rod Taylor when you need him? Good Lord he’s right here in this movie! As the character of Doc, Mr. Taylor’s role in this bird movie consist of pronouncing people dead. Why are these Ravens killing folks? Seems the Amish cats… uh, no… they call themselves Mennonites actually even though they have those wacky beards and no stache, had their cows come down with Mad Cow disease (I suppose this takes place in Canada) and next thing you know these ravens start eating the infected cows and thought the eating was some kind of good, but those stupid Mennonites burnt up the infected cows and now the mad cow infested Ravens need something else to dine on. Hell, why not people? Apparently the Mad Cow gene also makes the birds super smart as well as super hungry and super hostile. Will Sheriff Wayne find a way to stop these angry avians before they eat the whole town?

One of the things that usually doom the average Sci-Fi original feature, aside from the terrible acting, shaky editing, poor directing and commercials every three minutes are the horrific special effects. This certainly wasn’t a problem with ‘Kaw’ as the birds both real and CGI were fairly indistinguishable from each other. How in the hell do you train a bird anyway? Actually none of the bugaboos that infect the Sci-Fi original crept into ‘Kaw’ as the performances were decent, particularly Steven McHattie, Director Sheldon Wilson did a fine job in handling the actors, action, suspense and atmosphere and there weren’t any commercials since I watched this on DVD. Though I’m sure the Sci-Fi channel is trying to find a way to stick them on the DVD as well.

The problem with ‘Kaw’, other than the silly title, is that the birds just weren’t all that scary. Sure they were big, black and plentiful but for some reason when they showed up on the scene they just didn’t fill this viewer with a terrible sense of foreboding or fear. You may think that having a scary bird movie and not have the birds be scary might be a problem, and you’d probably be correct, but we here at the FCU just find that to just a minor niggle in judging this Sci-Fi original. Not only is that minor, but we are going to go ahead and say that this is the second best killer bird movie of ALL TIME! Sure the gulf between number 1 and number 2 is vast, but it is still number 2 and that’s something to be proud of now isn’t it.

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