Title: Hyenas
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Christa Campbell, Rudolf Martin, Costas Mandylor
Director: Eric Weston

You've heard of werewolves and probably seen at least a few of the sub-genre of horror films, but this is one that decides to give it a twist; were-hyenas. Cackling laughing men and women who transform into bloodthirsty beasts leaving behind no trace of their victims, operating from the shadows of a forest in the middle of nowhere, hiding from their prey; a clan of manipulative maniacal beasts with no remorse, hunting down their food like the rabid animals they are, using anything they have at their disposal to give them the upper hand. Which in the case of women can involve making men go “ooh tits” and... eh you get the picture. Actually, come think of it it's not really much of a twist at all, taking the pack mentality illustrated in 'The Lost Boys' and simply replacing the stock footage and groundwork laid out for them in numerous other bad werewolf flicks with that of a hyena; some new CGI work and a different stock sound effect, used to great hilarity when they aren't actually in hyena form, and you're done.

There's little here that distinguishes it from the plethora of flicks of this style; some grizzly gory murders where the final scene of blood gore is left to the imagination, cutting away as the shit finally hits the fan and at best, perhaps just showing us the aftermath later on. There's an alpha female hyena with some frequent hints at nudity (tackling the dilemma of 'what happens to the clothes,' they strip before they transform) though never shown gratuitously, and all the transformations are done using rather generic looking cheap (it is low budget after all) CGI that's neither here nor there – neither laughably bad or resembling anything believable – being quite obviously done, and short of disguising it in the dark some more, could probably do little else with their budgetary constraints. It certainly could have benefited from raising the exploitation stakes, leaving in the gritty detail of the murders and adding more sleaze to the proceedings, for whilst a cheap trick to add interest, it rarely fails to actually make the proceedings more interesting.

There are some cheesy characters amidst the cliche ones; a gang feud between the Mexicans and the... well the dickheads basically (I'm not sure what else they're meant to be except perhaps some throwback to the 70s), and some occasional moments that will make you elicit a halfhearted 'heh' but there is only really one shining light in all this sea of mediocrity, and his name is Briggs. The narrator and lead character in this tale; he plays the role of 'crazy old black guy' to B-Movie perfection; the only man who believes in the existence of these beasts and delivering classic lines uttered by the minds of the audience (when asked why he hasn't gone to the police with his information, he just looks at the man doing the asking as though hes a moron and says 'cos they think I'm crazy'). In this mess of a plot, seeming to meander with pointless characters there only to fill time between (not actually showing us the) deaths, it is him that keeps it all on track, and he does a damn fine job of it.

Ah, crazy old black guys...


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