Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As Hoss, the hillbilly with the deep knowledge of Norse mythology tells the story, the goddess Hel is thought to have given birth to the insatiable dragon The Wyvern to devour all evil doers. It helps that this story is being told to us by the legendary Barry Corbin as the character of Hoss. Anyway, the Wyvern finished eating all the evil doers and then started eating men, women and children and then tried to eat Odin. That was a bad move in hindsight, and the Wyvern was encased in ice for the rest of its days. That is until you stupid humans started warming the globe and stuff. Stupid humans. Now the Wyvern is free and can get back to the business of eating men, women and children. My only beef about Hoss’s story, which most people are real quick to believe up there in Alaska, is that if the Wyvern is real then Odin is real. Hey Odin, how about a little help over here?

Jake (Nick Chindlund) is an Ice Road Trucker who is hanging around this small town because he wrecked his rig on some cracking ice (Global Warming again), resulting in the death of his brother. He’d like to get out of town, but he has to wait for his insurance claim to come in. Meanwhile Jake is just teasing the hell out of the ladies of Podunk Alaska, such as Claire (Erin Kapluk) the feisty diner operator who would like nothing more than to keep the emotionally damaged trucker warm at night. But then there’s Doc Yates (David Lewis) who would like to keep Claire warm his damn self, but alas Claire only seems to have eyes for the damaged trucker. I know none of this has nothing to do with mythical beasts eating people, but in time.

One day while heading home, Doc Yates knows a shortcut since he didn’t want to follow the directions of his GPS. We could ask ourselves why Doc was using a GPS to get around considering he’s been living in this place for a number of years, or why he took a shortcut that he should’ve already known was there, but we had to get him out of his Range Rover to take a piss somehow didn’t we? How else was the Wyvern going to eat him? Duh.

Next thing you know, Hoss in attacked by the Wyvern, but he survives to dispense sage knowledge. Then when Jake and the Sheriff (John Dawson) find a chunk of the doc, they know something is up. The thing is this is the day of the Solstice barbeque, because soon it’s going to be dark for 30 days and 30 nights and this party is real important to a lot of people. Guess what? Wyvern’s like barbeques too. It’s like a buffet.

So the Wyvern has pretty much eaten this entire town, except a few people who are trapped in a diner, but she plans to them too. Yup, I said ‘she’. You know what that means. Jake, his girl Claire, Hoss the Hillbilly, Hampton the Native American Goddess disc jockey (Tinsel Korey), Edna the psycho (Karen Austin) and the Colonel (the late Don S. Davis) cannot let this thing propagate. So with no help from the outside, and with the Wyvern completely blocking them from leaving, it’s up to our heroes to save us from the terror of the Wyvern, since obviously Odin could give less than a damn about us down here in Midgard.

‘Wyvern’, directed by Sci-Fi movie veteran Stephen R. Monroe, is one of the better Sci-Fi original movies if for no other reason than Cinetel films either through some money behind the effects in this one, or better yet hired somebody with some talent in the field. We’re always railing on Sci-Fi and the production companies they hire for their crap looking monsters in these monster movies they insist on making, so a little credit has to go out when they have a monster that actually looks good. The monster was well designed and it was integrated into the scenery almost perfectly. I mean when the Wyvern ascended to the sky, the sun would realistically reflect off of its back and all other kinds of detailed stuff. Its movement felt authentic, not that I’d actually know how a mythical monster actually moves, and since most of the time folks just shot at it, that means they could stay a good distance away from it, which didn’t lead to clunky scenes where the monster and humans had to occupy the same space. The only disappointing thing about this monster is that I just saw this 2009 movie yesterday, this being late in 2011, which means that over the years the monster designs for these sci-fi movies has just gotten worse over time.

The rest of the movie is pretty much standard fare. Damaged hero, plucky heroine, wise old dude or native character with exposition knowledge… you know the routine. Admittedly, it did start out a little on the slow side since I didn’t much care that Claire liked the trucker, or that the doc like Claire, or that the trucker lost his bro, but once we got past all of that and got to the Wyvern eating people, the movie improved remarkably. I did wonder why the Wyvern built its nest out of used electronic parts that can easily conduct electricity when it seemed that tree branches might’ve worked a little better, like it does for most birds, and when Jake told his long story about how his brother died on the ice road, I do believe I nodded off. But we did like the monster. One part cool monster, two parts standard stuff, minus one point for Nick Chindlund droning on and on… it all adds up to one of the better Sci-Fi originals that you will see.

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