Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I think these Sci-Fi Originals are slowly eating away at what little good sense I have left in my ever decaying brain. Like Steven Seagal movies I’m almost addicted to these things as I make it a point to watch them as often as I can whenever I can no matter how bad the last one may have been. Since I cut off my external TV source except for the stuff you get over the air I don’t receive the Sci-Fi channel any more but that’s good in relation to these Sci-Fi movies because that means I can watch them on DVD in all of their uncut glory. If you watched ‘Abominable’ when it came on TV you missed Tiffany Shepis take a completely unnecessary shower, but not me baby. If you had the displeasure of watching ‘Lake Placid 2’ when it came on TV you missed some poor actress unnecessarily bare her boobies for scale in that horrible, horrible movie… but I caught ‘em. Yes I did. So know we have those crazy people over at Cinetel who make their fair share of Sci-Fi originals and are obviously fed up with all the good nature that ‘Shrek’ has garnered has decided to return the Ogre back to his original roots as the brutal and nasty devour of humans with the Sci-Fi Original appropriately titled ‘Ogre’ of course. And again, like Cyclops before it, this wasn’t nearly as bad you would’ve thought it would be.

The town of Ellensworth Pennsylvania, circa 1850 something, has a plague problem. The weird thing about this plague is that it only seems to be affecting this little town and nowhere else. There is a solution to this dilemma offered by town shaman Bartlett Henry (John Schneider), but town physician Franklin (Andrew Wheeler) just doesn’t trust the dude, plus the cure might be worst than the disease itself. When Bartlett’s pretty daughter Hope (Chelan Simmons) gets the spots its time for action and so reluctantly control of the town is given Bartlett who makes his staff glow, does some magical intonation type stuff and viola… the curse is broken. Of course there is the little side effect that the cure has brought along in the form of 12 foot 1800 pound man eating ogre who shows up once a year to eat a sacrifice, but hell, gotta crack a few eggs know what I’m saying?

150 years later some curious young adults, let by the geeky Terry (Kyle Labine) and his trusty internet map are out in the deep woods looking for the mythical town of Ellensworth. His friends, which include the smart alecky Mike (Ryan Kennedy) his girl Jessica (Katherine Isabelle) and wayward hottie Leah (Kimberly Warnat), all think he’s off his rocker but humor him none the less. Unfortunately in his exuberance Terry hurts his leg which causes Ryan and Jess to leave he and the hottie behind to find help. Terry finds a secret door in their absence, a door to DEATH! Well the Ogre is now free and it is still hungry despite having just devoured a geek and a hottie.

Meanwhile our other kids have stumbled upon this town of Ellensworth which oddly seems trapped in the 1850’s and is in the middle of making their annual sacrifice selection when our young heroes drop in on them. What nobody knows as of yet is that the Ogre has been freed prematurely and is on a rampage which has upset Bartlett mightily. His daughter is somewhat relieved because her boyfriend was tapped to be the next sacrifice, but her happiness is short lived when she discovers the truth about the plague so long ago and the alleged ‘sacrifice’ selections. All of this drama has to wait however because the Ogre is on the rampage, the town is scared witless, Bartlett is nowhere to be found, our surviving kids are really upset at the Ogre for eating their friends and now its up to the fledgling girl magician and the wise cracking stud with a shotgun to put Shrek down once and for all.

While watching this I couldn’t help but think what a relief Pennsylvania was a free state. Imagine being a slave trapped for 150 plus years in 1850. Considering that death was the only release for most of those in bondage back then, that would absolutely suck. I’m thinking after about forty years of that I’d be actively trying to get up close and personal with Mr. Ogre to put me out my misery.

The movie itself wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Sure it was silly and didn’t make a lot of sense, yes it looked like the town we saw in 1850 should’ve run out of people to give the Ogre to eat about 80 years ago and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why people stopped running from the Ogre and allowed it lumber toward them at 1.2 MPH and then rip them to shreds. Yes, listening to the faux early American Victorian style dialog got painful at times but Bo Duke was in this movie, and not only has Bo Duke aged well but he’s also become a pretty decent actor in the process. Director Steven R. Monroe, who can thank the SCI-Fi Channel for putting his kids through college considering all the work he’s done for them, and who also directed a movie I liked a lot in ‘House of 9’ paces the movie quite well, the young cast chock full of folks you’ve never heard of were above average and the CGI blood was flowing quite freely.

The special effects were suspect of course, the Ogre looked like a poorly done takeoff of the Abomination from the Hulk movie a couple of summers ago and unlike the Cyclops movie he didn’t integrate with the live action surroundings as well as the creature in that movie did, though both looked obviously computer generated.

But it was oddly watchable and dare I say entertaining even to a point. No, it’s not a good movie in the classic sense of the word but perhaps because the Sci-Fi Channel has single handedly lowered my expectations of almost all cinematic events, I now only require slightly moving objects to be entertained. I tested this theory by watching Lake Placid 2 again and nope, nothings changed. Ogre just didn’t suck total ass. And as we observed before we can’t heap much higher praise on a Sci-Fi original than that.

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