Wyvern (2009)

Wyvern (2009)

Ancient evil has come to feed.

The residents of a small Alaskan town find themselves besieged by a wyvern, a medieval flying dragon that has thawed from its ancient ice tomb thanks to global warming and has taken up residence in their local woods.

 

The Sci-Fi Channel continues to raid mythology in a desperate bid to keep new monsters coming out of the woodwork with Wyvern, another by-the-numbers creature feature which runs like clockwork. I don’t even get why they need to keep using mythological monsters for as all of these films are exactly the same, save for a different ‘origin of the beast’ speech made by one of the characters. I guess it adds an extra couple of minutes to this film when the origins of the wyvern from Nordic mythology are explained to the other characters – who really cares though? It’s big, it’s bad, it’s hungry and the only thing the characters really need to know is how to kill it.

Anyway enough with the mini-rant, Wyvern isn’t actually that bad and coming from the Sci-Fi Channel, that’s saying something. I guess it was the different monster that spiced things up a bit because the rest of the film is just one terrible cliché after another.

What clichés does Wyvern roll out you may ask? Well there’s the token single male hero character that has some history and is looking to put that behind him. So no doubt by the end of the film he’ll be given an opportunity to redeem himself and get rid of the guilt he’s carrying. There’s the token single female character that is the only attractive woman in the town, is still single and has the attention of two guys fighting for her affection. So no doubt she’ll end up with whoever doesn’t get eaten by the end. There’s your crazy old guy who ‘shoot things and drinks a lot of beer’ so it’s obvious that he’ll be the first to see the wyvern and no one will believe him. This is a town where there is a festival coming up which, according to one character ‘is the only thing this town has got to look forward to’ – so clearly the authority figure in charge isn’t going to close this down (Jaws, you have a lot to answer for at times).

The cast is what you’d expect from such a Sci-Fi Channel flick – you’ve got some lesser known actors taking up the main roles with an odd recognisable face thrown in for good measure. Here the faces are Barry Corbin (no stranger to the genre with appearances in Dead & Buried and Critters 2: The Main Course) and Don S. Davis (who appeared in around 160 episodes of Stargate SG-1). The cast is dependable enough, with no one really standing out from the pack but no one making a total fool of themselves either.

The main star is the monster itself. The CGI wyvern looks pretty slick when it’s flying around in the air but as soon as it’s got landscapes or buildings back dropped behind it, the effects look decidedly less so. One of the problems of this new era of creature features is that they show the monster too early so there’s little excitement to be had waiting for a big reveal later in the film. In fact the wyvern here is shown in the first scene so you know exactly what the characters are up against. Part of the fun of the old school monster flicks was that you only got glimpses or the monsters until midway through the films when they’d be revealed in all of their glory. At least the wyvern gets well fed and although there aren’t too many gory moments of the creature eating people, there are plenty of leftovers on the floor including severed limbs and heads. And in a morbid touch, although you don’t actually see much in the way of eating, you can hear the noises of crunching bone as the wyvern flies off with its victims.

 

Wyvern is the best of the Sci-Fi Channel’s recent efforts and whilst that’s not saying a lot, it’s enough in this day-and-age of dreadful straight-to-DVD monster flicks. I just dread to think of how many more monsters will be dragged up from the depths of mythology to keep these creature feature films rolling.

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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