Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Doug Swander, Kathleen LaGrue, Matt Holly, Simon Page, Kate Gersten
Directed by Patricia Harrington
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Razortooth is set in a small Southern community on the edge of a vast swamp with a lot of problems: two escaped convicts are on the loose, Asian swamp eels are threatening the local ecosystem and people and animals have gone missing all of sudden. It’ll turn out that third problem has to do with what will prove to be the town’s biggest problem: a large man-eating mutant eel with a voracious appetite.
On the case is an animal control officer named Delmar – played by a guy who appears to have been the result of an experiment to combine Lorenzo Lamas and Harry Connick Jr. into one person – who initially thinks he’s going to be facing just another routine assignment. Delmar’s a good ol’ boy at heart, a down home charmer with a twang in his voice who loves playing his harmonica. Needless to say this is yet another one of those B-movies set in the Deep South where actors with fake Southern drawls ham it up.
Aiding Delmar will be his ex, Sheriff Ruth. I don’t know why they’re exes and, apparently, the screenwriters didn’t know either, which explains why the two of them will be getting it on even before the end of the first act.
Then along comes a carload of college types: a brainy chick and a trio of lunkheaded dudes. They’ve come to assist a scientist-professor who’s looking for a way to deal with an influx of Asian swamp eels that have begun threatening the swamp’s delicate ecosystem. Unfortunately, the scientist’s allegedly brilliant solution involved trying to make the eels sterile by genetically engineering a special gene that…
Let’s put it this way; within the first half hour one of those students will utter the line, “I’ve seen this movie.” Problem is we all have. We’ve seen it better and we’ve seen it worse, but we’ve all seen it a million times before.
After getting off to a rousing start that jumps right into the action with some cops tracking the escaped cons falling victim to the swamp’s monstrous new denizen, virtually every aspect of Razortooth proves to be so predictably formulaic to the point of it becoming mind-numbing after awhile. It makes for what is more or less a production akin to the laziest and most uninspired of Sci-Fi Channel creature features, only the production values and creature CGI effects here are a step above, which only makes the film that much more disappointing.
A bunch of random people get eaten. Then once everyone figures out there’s something monstrous lurking about, the stock characters proceed to ride around in boats and skulk about the swamp’s woodlands looking to kill it. The cast is further thinned out as the amphibious mutant eel with a seemingly bottomless stomach randomly picks them off on both land and in the water, somehow knowing precisely where and when to be at just the right moment and in just the right spot to properly ambush them. Rinse and repeat.
The monstrous eel (of alternating size throughout the film) is a ghastly beast with more personality brimming from its fiendish face than any human character in the cast has flowing through their entire body. With dead black eyes, powerful jaws containing a mouthful of sharp teeth – a toothy reptile with what almost looks like a demented grin etched on its face, not to mention gills that flap heartily when its truly excited or agitated, this slithering hellspawn is pretty much the epitome of what a great B-movie monster should look like. So disappointing to see it squandered on such an uninteresting yawner.
The script actually comes up with what seemed like a loopy yet creative – one of the few things in the movie that could be described as creative – means by which of dispatching with the monster eel, only for the writers to change their minds at the last minute in favor of falling back on a more traditional explosive climax featuring one of those movie hand grenades that takes what seems like forever before finally detonating.
The sad reality here is that Razortooth only comes to life when the great-looking title monster is reducing cast members to meat scraps. Those kill scenes, gruesome and plentiful as they may be, just aren’t enough to salvage the movie from being an above average-looking low budget production that falls flat due to a script that feels like it was cooked up using a book of B-monster movie Mad Libs.
Razortooth is no Frankenfish, that’s for sure.
1 1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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