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Overall Rating
2.91

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average63.64%
Pretty Bad: 27.27%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 5 user ratings


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Day of the Animals
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by Jack Sommersby

"Man vs. Nature Tale That Delivers"
3 stars

The director's previous film was "Grizzly", which gave us one mean son-of-a-bitch bear as the main villian. Here, the bear has come animal company.

The story premise of Day of the Animals is highly derivative and far from a particularly creative one, yet the end result has turned out not half-bad and is recommendable enough. The way this plays out, due to man-made activities steadily depleting the ozone layer, dangerous levels of radiation are affecting the animals in high-elevation areas, making them incredibly feral and vicious. A wide assortment ranging from hawks, lions, bears, snakes and more pose a threat to a group of tour-guide-led hikers in the mountains who've taken off on their trek without anything in the way of either weapons or radios -- having left behind the big city for a few days, they think they've distanced themselves from any inimical element that would wish to do them harm. One by one they're picked off in as gruesome a fashion as the movie's PG-rating will allow. Christopher George, one of the all-time veterans of B-movies, stars as the leader of the group, and he has some degrees of reserve and charm, which is a bit of a surprise being that he's usually a humorless stiff on the screen; and the rest of the cast is adequate, too -- that is, with the exception of Leslie Nielsen, who contributes a hoary hambone special as a businessman who slowly descends into madness along the way. The screenplay, written by the very same couple responsible for the classic Roger Corman-produced Big Bad Mama, is unexpectedly deft at giving us three different groups to keep track of when George's character's leadership is questioned; this adds necessary variety, keeping the story on different narrative levels. And the director, William Girdler, who did the fine Jaws-like Grizzly, displays a sure hand at staging the attacks with adeptness and suspense. Without the use of fancy special effects given its low budget, there's a primal terror to the unfettered-animal attacks that makes them quite the worrisome foes, with one scene involving some enraged hawks particularly harrowing. Oh, there are some quibbles. The humans occasionally do some very dumb things just for the sole sake of the story progressing; and it might have been more fun if more of the characters, not just one in particular, turned into homicidal maniacs due to the radiation that would have provided an even higher level of conflict to the proceedings. Still, considering how silly the movie easily could have been, we're lucky it came out as fine as it did. Day of the Animals lacks the consistent intensity of Lewis Teague's Cujo and filmmaking ingenuity of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but it succeeds at enveloping us from start to finish, and for this the viewer should be more than grateful given our low expectations going in.

Perfectly fine entertainment for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2850&reviewer=327
originally posted: 04/03/07 09:04:30
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User Comments

1/26/11 PAUL SHORTT POINTLESS HORROR FABLE WITH BAD PERFORMANCES 2 stars
1/27/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 3 stars
4/04/07 David Pollastrini scared the hell out of me when I was a kid 5 stars
10/15/04 gray could have been way better 2 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby Pretty lackluster stuff. A couple of scares, but even more dead spots. Badly acted. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-May-1977 (PG)
  DVD: 25-Apr-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
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