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Tasmanian Devils

Dying Breed Review

Dying Breed feels as though it apparently pulled its influence from various films. It felt like the Tasmanian equivalent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with what came across as the thrown-away first draft of The Hunter. The Hunter, a far superior film, starred Willem Dafoe. For those who haven't seen it, Dafoe is hired to track and capture a Tasmanian tiger, believed to be extinct. As the locals become hostile and a nice woman and her child befriend him, his conscience begins to battle his duties. It was a rather well-done film, that exceeded its budget to produce one of the more impressive slow-burning thrillers of the past decade. Dying Breed is not this film.

Dying Breed also has a plot point centered around the Tasmanian tiger. As our serial killer fodder sets out into the forest in search of the ever-elusive "tiger", they are gruesomely murdered by a family of cannibals one by one. The family behaves like a certain murderous Texas clan that happened to jump on a plane for Tasmania. The similarities are quite significant, including a massive, quiet, brutish, deformed psychopath.

The film couldn't commit to what type of effects it wanted to show. It was questionably inconsistent in its use of CGI and practical effects. While there was some decent practical effects work, it made the CGI gore scenes all-the-more ridiculous and unnecessary. The logic of the characters and the choppy storytelling make it difficult to refrain from rolling your eyes at the cliches and stupidity. The protagonists are generally unlovable and most of them you'd rather see die than listen to their bickering or watching their "bro"-like macho-ness.

The acting wasn't the worst, and the cinematography wasn't abysmal by any stretch, but the story was lacking in many ways. To some extent I feel like I'm missing the point of the film; maybe it is just a parody of Texas Chainsaw and everything it did was purposeful satire. Otherwise, we're looking at a pretty bland synopsis that featured a catalyst already recently featured in a far superior film.

The Tasmanian tiger spends most of its time in the film as a metaphor for the murderous family; elusive predators that have to avoid the outside world for fear of going extinct. When the parallel is thrown in your face, it kills the art of its subtlety and ruins the best aspect of the film. The randomly grown conscience of several of the antagonists was completely unbelievable and ill-conceived. It killed the momentum of the climax by having inexplicable behavior take over the scene.

It just wasn't the best experience, but it never appeared to have the production value necessary to be anything more than what it was. This film is just one of many that wasn't able to out-perform its budget, and that's frankly okay. Can't expect every movie to excel beyond the proverbial bar of expectations.

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 5/10

Film Quality: 2/10

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