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Featured DVD Review: Hyenas

April 16th, 2011

Hyenas - Buy from Amazon

Hyenas is the latest SyFy channel original movie I've reviewed. Their track record has been spotty, at best, and the last such movie I reviewed barely lived up to the low-expectations SyFy movies rely on. Will Hyenas live down to the reputation set by its predecessors? Or can it stand out?

The Movie

The film starts with a woman driving along a deserted highway while talking on the phone about securities. The phone cuts out and shortly afterward she's followed by two men in another car. They give her a bit of a scare before speeding off. However, that's not the end of her bad night as she blows a tire and nearly drives off the road. She, and her baby, are unharmed, but while she's trying to change the tire, the two men return and change into hyenas. They kill her and steal her kid.

Meshach Taylor then shows up to explain what's going on, sort of. They are werehyenas and they hunt humans. And he hunts them. He teams up with Costas Mandylor, the husband of the dead woman, who is out looking for revenge. Meanwhile, the werehyenas are looking for a new leader. Christa Campbell might be that new leader, but to show she has what it takes, she has to kill Meshach and Costas.

Meanwhile, there's some interracial conflict, a few relatively bloodless kills, TV level nudity, and low-budget special effects.

This is a Boobs & Blood movie, a name given to a sub-genre of horror films that generally offer little more than the prospect of plenty of gore and gratuitous nudity. I get the appeal of these movies and if done well, I'm even willing to give them a solid recommendation. However, this is a TV movie, so it can not deliver on either promise. (It does try to tease the audience with the nudity, which is even worse than not showing anything.) Strangely, while there's not real nudity and the level of gore is turned way, way down, the amount of swearing was cranked up in what I can only assume as an attempt to compensate. It doesn't work. If anything, it makes the film much worse.

Not only does it not take the obvious route for cheap entertainment, which I could at least give a cautious recommendation to, but it is saddled with a boring, confused script. There are only a few actors in the movie capable of giving a line reading, and most of them are sleepwalking through the movie. It adds up to a dull, cringe-worthy wait between action scenes, but the special effects look so bad, it's not worth the wait.

There's nothing in this movie that works and even compared to the average SyFy original movie, it's a failure.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

When Hyenas landed on my desk, my first thought was, "It's a low-budget animals gone bad movie. Better lower my expectations." While it's not actually an "animals gone bad" movie, I was 100% right about the rest. In fact, I underestimated how bad it could be. It's a bad movie in every regard and the featureless DVD isn't even worth a rental.

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