Film Review: Return of the Killer Shrews

September 24, 2018

 

The 1959 monster movie The Killer Shrews is generally regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. But there are apparently at least a few people that enjoyed it.

One of them is iconic horror author Stephen King, who includes the film on a list of horror films that he considered important in his non-fiction book Danse Macabre.

The other is writer/director Steve Latshaw, who made Return of the Killer Shrews.

The late James Best, best known as the bumbling Sheriff Roscoe on the television show Dukes of Hazzard, returns to his role from the original as a charter boat captain that visits an island overrun by man-eating dog-sized shrews -- the result of an experiment to create hormones that will increase the size of potential food sources. Best 's character returns to the  island with the cast and crew of a reality television show to discover the site is again crawling with the titular monsters. 

Best is reunited with Dukes of Hazzard co-stars John Schneider and Rick Hurst. The three of them share an onscreen moment referencing the show that is potentially funny and will leave viewers wishing for more of the same.

While the original is nominally a serious horror film, the sequel goes for comedy in the style of the Sharknado films. The script's jokes are uneven -- a confrontation between the film's hero and villain, both of who are aged, is funny while references to Crocodile Hunter and Jurassic World fall flat.

The cast delivers on the camp potential. Schneider demonstrates surprising comedic flair.Best also seems to enjoy himself and demonstrates why he was a respected character actor during the 70s'.. Only Bruce Davison, essentially parodying his role from the killer rat movie Willard, disappoints -- he seems underused considering the general caliber of work in his extensive career..

The special effects and production values generally operate on the level of a SyFy channel film. Latshaw's decision to keep it overtly campy at times seems cynical -- it seems like the easy way out. But viewers seeking a party fil should enjoy this.

 

Related: Check out our interview with "Return of the Killer Shrews" director, Steve Latshaw!

 

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