Format: Amazon Watch Party
Director: William Girdler
I think the *weirdest* thing about this movie is that it genuinely feels like famed filmmaker James Nguyen of Birdemic fame may have taken inspiration from Day of the Animals (1977) for his 2010 opus. The second weirdest thing is seeing Leslie Nielsen in what was likely one of his last dramatic roles before drifting into his particular brand of comedy (of which I am a tremendous fan).
This movie is not a sequel to, but is a spiritual partner to, 1976's Grizzly by the same director and both films feature Richard Jaeckel (a classic "oh, THAT guy" actor). Both are about humans in the woods with animals out of control, I guess. But the scale here is much larger/ more hilarious.
Our plot: a bunch of people have signed up for a "survivor's" trek through the wilderness, but are all dressed like they're headed for the supermarket. Over the course of a few days they'll rough it in the mountains of California, but reports are coming in that animals are acting funny. We're introduced to our parade of stereotypes/ tropes, all of whom explain who they are as they come down the exposition line at the beginning.
Well, crazy thing, the ozone is bad something something, higher elevations, and the animals have become homicidal. I mean, MORE homicidal.* They particularly have it in for us slow-moving humans.
Anyway - the movie is a bit of a mess, but has two major thrusts - 1) the escalating attacks on the walking person buffet, and 2) the interpersonal conflict that needs to arise in any of these films. In our case, it's the increasingly irritable ad man played by Nielsen who winds up shirtless and baying at the moon before the film is over.
There's an indication that things have gone awry in the sleepy mountain town where our adventure begins, but the budget wasn't there to show too much of that, so all we get is the aftermath and the indication that SOMETHING happened. But, yeah, there's a storyline for the Sheriff that just abruptly ends. We sort of get a story about a little girl who is maybe the only survivor of... something? And a deeply unsatisfying story about a pair of quarreling lovers that, against all common sense, leave the group after being attacked by a goddamn wolf. And, man, why anyone would follow Leslie Nielsen's character in this movie is impossible to understand.
And, yes, for reasons unexplained, the entire multi-day crew of people has no radio to call down in need of help. Which seems like an oversight.
But the women's hair and make-up remains on point despite a half-a-week of running from cougars.
Anyway - what the movie does have are frequent animal attacks, and from a wide array of animals. If you're like me and enjoy movies about people losing to the Wild Kingdom, and only a few escaping to look traumatized afterwards: I have a great movie for you.
*Animals tend to eat other animals and people if you give them a chance, really.