Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


HYDRA (2009 telefilm). Director: Andrew Prendergast.

Vincent Camdem (Alex McArthur) is an entrepreneur with a novel idea. He takes people who have lost love ones to criminals who eluded the justice system to an island to hunt down some other people who have gotten away with murder. But this isn't a variation of Ten Little Indians because most of the cast -- hunter or hunted -- are actually killed by a voracious giant serpent with three heads (which grows two more each time a head is severed). The computer effects, while hardly top of the line, seem somewhat better than in similar films, and the hydra is a lively, slithering beastie, gruesomely munching on its victims while splattering much blood and many body parts. It is a far cry from the brilliant, artistic hydra of Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts, however. Trapped on the island with the hydra is a lady archaeologist, and one of the hunted men was in special forces. Michael Shamus Wiles is rather vivid as Captain Sweet, who was also in the Army. The younger actors aren't bad but could use some seasoning. When ex-special forces guy Tim Nolan (played by George Stults) explains what happened in the Army and how he wound up in jail, Stults -- who is otherwise a charismatic leading man type -- displays about as much emotion as if he were describing a trip to the supermarket where they were out of his favorite ice cream. There are some exciting moments in the movie, which is slightly above average for the sci fi channel.

Verdict: Maybe one head too many. **1/2.

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