Base-jumping thrill-seekers (Kenneth Mitchell, Roger Cross, and Terry Chen among them) end up in deep poop in Tasmania (by way of Vancouver it seems) when they find that the location they have chosen for their latest jump is full of Tasmanian devils. Not just any Tasmanian devils, though. No, these buggers are huge, blood-thirsty ancestors of the relatively small, cute-ugly (in that pathetic three-legged dog kinda way) Aussie marsupials. Don’t worry, though, because park ranger Danica McKeller (yes, that Danica McKeller) is on hand, and in addition to being kinda sorta law enforcement (ish), she’s also a Masters student who just so happens to know a thing or two about Aussie wildlife. So she says, anyway. I’m still not sure about that myself, being actually from Australia.
It takes a special level of incompetence to deliver a worse SyFy Channel film than usual, and so director Zach Lipovsky (who apparently comes from a special FX background) and writer Brook Durham (who scripted another SyFy cheapie called “Witchslayer Gretl”) have absolutely outdone themselves here. Not only do their title creatures fail to resemble anything even remotely akin to real Tasmanian Devils (or even ancestors of such creatures- nice try, guys), but based on the geography and truly appalling accents here, I doubt anyone involved in this film has ever ventured to Australia, let alone Tasmania. I’m sorry, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar), but my nostalgic love for “The Wonder Years” can only carry this terrible, cheapjack film so far. She might be a genius maths whiz, but Ms. McKeller sure ain’t no prize chooser of scripts these days, it seems. The gore is good, however, and quite surprising. It’s got that going for it.
Would it have killed someone to do even a little research? I know we’re in a different hemisphere and all, but c’mon. The film’s ultimately Canadian roots show from the casting alone, with Canadian actor Terry Chen among the cast. If he’s in your film, nine times out of ten, it’s a Canadian film. If the photography looks brown and dim as it does here by cinematographer Norm Li, it’s also probably Canadian. I have no idea where it was filmed (Vancouver?), but it sure as hell ain’t anywhere near Australia. The accents by the few supposedly Australian characters are even worse than the Seth Effriken ones masquerading as Aussie accents on “Lost”. There’s one little girl in particular (Julia Sarah Stone, I believe) who seemed in complete agony delivering whatever the hell that accent was meant to be. The guy playing the Aussie Robert Shaw from “Jaws”, meanwhile, is one of the single worst actors I’ve ever seen. There’s plenty of Aussie talent abroad, presumably many of them willing to work cheap, so what gives? Danica McKeller looks tired and haggard, and the only ‘real’ actors of the bunch (Terry Chen and Roger Cross) aren’t given enough to do to either suitably embarrass themselves nor save the film.
The Tassie devils, as I said, look appalling and wrong, even if I’ve seen much worse CGI. Real Tassie devils are about half the size of these things (so using giant machetes like they do here to kill Tassie devils is unintentionally hilarious), and look nothing like them. They’re like a small, ugly pig, not a huge wild boar, dumb arses! So even if they are off-shoots of real Tassie devils, they still don’t suffice. Tazzie Devil looks nothing like a Tassie Devil, let alone these stupid critters which are more like small dinosaurs or razorback pigs on steroids. Prehistoric my arse, the filmmakers simply didn’t do any research and used the ancestral thing to cover their lazy arses. The funniest thing, however, was that McKeller’s character claimed to be an expert on ‘Tasmanian Mythology’! What. The. Fuck. Even the supposed Aboriginal cave paintings look far too monochromatic and nondescript to convince. How ignorant can an entire film cast and crew possibly be? Or did they just assume no one would give a shit? Sure, it’s a silly SyFy film, but c’mon...you’re begging to be mocked, and not in a fun way.
In the end, the film is nice and gory, but not nearly enough to help you forget how appalling and staggeringly ignorant it is. About the only decent thing I can say about it is that the pacing is quite quick after a slow opening 15-20 minutes. Sorry, Winnie, but I always thought Kevin should’ve chosen Madeline anyway.