Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Steven Brand, Kirsty Mitchell, Emilia Clarke, Christopher Villiers, Raoul Trujillo
Directed by Colin Ferguson
When I sat down to watch Triassic Attack on Syfy this past Saturday evening, I knew precisely what I was in for. A Native American curse as punishment for the white man still trying to take away even more Indian land causes the museum skeletons of a t-rex, pterodactyl, and velociraptor to come to life and begin chomping down on residents of a small college town. Living dinosaur bones on the attack; it doesn’t get much sillier than that. I knew full well I was not going to be watching a good movie and sat down with giddy anticipation of watching a stupid, so bad it’s fun movie that I could have a blast with. As I would come to realize two hours later, sometimes bad is just bad.
If I were to edit this film into a highlight reel to post on YouTube, it would probably be about 60 seconds long, maybe 90 seconds. The t-rex skeleton attempts to swallow a frat boy only to have the guy fall out through the bottom of its skull. The velociraptor plays chicken with a jeep, gets its bones shattered, and magically reformulates. The skeletal pterodactyl that can still fly stabs a couple with its bony wings. The t-rex swats someone with its tail, sending them flying a quarter mile into power lines to be electrocuted. Native American dancing and chanting that may be the biggest disgrace to their people since the Trail of Tears. The t-rex and pterodactyl conjoin like a fossilized erector set to form a bony winged t-rex that can fly. That’s about it. Yep, probably about 90 seconds worth of amusement.
The rest of the dinosaur fossil rampage plays out pretty much the way it would in every other made-for-Syfy Jurassic Park wannabe featuring dinosaurs with flesh on their bones. That these dinosaurs are skeletons makes little difference other than the digital effects looking far more convincing than that typically seen in those other Syfy films with flesh and blood dinos. The script rarely comes up with anything visually inventive to play off their boniness, and budgetary restraints only excuse the lack of imagination so much.
Why are the actors so stiff in their dealings with such a highly improbably menace? Could it be because the script is neither witty nor creative and frequently takes itself way too seriously? Could it be because the leading man keeps his stiff upper lip Scottish accent and the other foreign born actors and actresses portraying his estranged wife (Scottish), his teen daughter (British), and the douchey dean of the college his ex is currently dating (British) are struggling with American accents that frequently let slip their natural brogue? Lame punchlines fall even flatter because they’re delivered in too stiff a manner to register a laugh.
There was even a little kid who for some reason was either overdubbed or the casting director somehow found a ten-year-old boy with the voice of a forty-year-old man. What was up with that?
Triassic Attack is just bad, the lame kind of bad. Colin Ferguson, star of “Eureka” (don’t quit your day job), directs it all with a joyless efficiency that insists on keeping the carnage bloodless even though the only selling point is people getting chewed up and spit out by killer dinosaur bones.
Where is the triceratops skeleton that impales people with its horns?
Where is the ankylosaurus skeleton splattering people with its big bony tail?
Hell, where is the t-rex chomping people in two or the raptor ripping people up or the pterodactyl stabbing people with its giant beak?
Some b-movies really are meant to be bloody good fun, and I got the sense that being more like a fossilized version of the old gory “Dinosaurs Attack” trading cards is what Triassic Attack was screaming out to be. It never would have made for a good movie, but it might have at least achieved a measure of fun bad. This is a movie about dinosaur skeletons coming to life for the sole purpose of killing people; why was it so damn uninspired?
To give you an idea how badly Triassic Attack drops the ball – SPOILER – the dickish dean of the college who provoked the Native American to bring the skeletons to life, the unlikable dean you just know is going to get killed before it’s all said and done because he’s the root cause of the trouble and killing him off will make it that much easier for the estranged husband and wife to reunite … survives completely unscathed.
1 1/2 out of 5
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