Producer: Phil Botana, Scott
Director: James D.R. Hickox
Writer: Tom Woolsey
Year of Production: 2001
Territory: US & Canada
Rating: R For creature violence and language
Format: Spanish Subtitles
DVD Running Time: 90 minutes
DVD Audio Status: Dolby Digital
DVD Special Features: English and Spanish Subtitles, trailer
Ever suspected some
kind of weird Social Darwinism at work when it comes to horror movies like
First, the plot:
a Sabretooth tiger manages to escape into the Californian woods when the
truck driver transporting it falls asleep at the steering wheel.
Before that, said
killer tiger devours the janitor at a secret research laboratory where
they have some brightly coloured test tubes. One just knows the janitor is
going to get it because (a.) janitors and other working class stiffs
always get it in movies like this, (b.) he acts stupidly when he tries to
retrieve a can of window cleaning liquid from RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE
TIGER'S CAGE KNOWING WHAT IS IN THERE and (c.) he wears his baseball
Soon the tiger is
stalking a group of ethnically diverse campers, who probably wished they
were in The Blair Witch Project instead. Even Friday the 13th
will do I suppose!
There's the group
leader (buxom blonde, Farrah Fawcett hairstyle and Lara Croft's fashion
sense), her ex-boyfriend (spiky haired hunk), obligatory media-saturated
Black dude (who makes Raiders of the Lost Ark cracks which must
have struck the screenwriters as clever at the time - read on to see why),
geeky asthmatic computer hacker, and dumbshit tattooed girl of vague
Latino extraction (with ?bad kitty T-shirt?, ho-ho).
Also in pursuit of
the weak CGI effect, but decent close-up animatronics: the billionaire
(John Rhys-Davies, best known to movie fans as Sallah in two of the
Indiana Jones movies) who funded the entire project to resurrect the
tiger, the bitch (Vanessa Angel of Baywatch fame), a nerdy female
expert on extinct species (her T-shirt reads: ?Extinction sucks!?) and the
professional big game hunter hired to hunt down Diego, er sorry, the
killer tiger (David Keith, most recently seen as
Recently I read in
Bill Bryson's excellent Notes from a Big Country that America is,
well, pretty big, and that it often happens that small aircraft would
crash in woodlands, never to be found again.
Not these woods:
they seem pretty crowded and busy - almost like your average shopping mall
on a Saturday morning. People keep stumbling into one another and the
sabre tooth tiger, a GGI special effect that makes Diego from Ice Age
look photorealistic, doesn't have to go far to find any victims to rip
apart in gory fashion.
Why exactly and how
the tiger is resurrected is never really explained. At least
Jurassic Park had that whole bit about the
mosquito being caught in amber. Not this movie! A lot of other things are
also never explained, like why the people in it act so stupidly.
"Hmm, let's see:
we're in the woods at night hunting a vicious killer tiger that was
extinct for extinct for thousands of years. So let me wander off here,
after all, it could standing right behi- aaaAAARGH!"
explained is why the billionaire funding the project is such an extreme
cheapskate ? the costs of sets and locations probably had something to do
with it I suspect.
Or how Vanessa ("my
collagen injected lips are bigger than Angelina Jolie's") Angel
became a scientist in the first place.
Why everybody still
has perfect makeup on first thing in the morning after roughing it in the
great outdoors? Or why everybody sleeps in their own luxurious four-man
tent at night, but doesn't seem to carry anything in their rucksacks at
Back to the social
Ignoring the normal
horror movie rules such as the couple having on-screen sex getting it, you
get no prizes for guessing who will survive this particular ordeal in the
woods. Somehow, not the proletariat, nor the brainy, nor the ethnic
minority groups, but the good-looking Aryan types damn it!
Maybe this ties in
with some perverted idea Hollywood has of why it is necessary to spend all
those hours in the gym. I don?t know. However, at the end of Sabretooth
the good-looking couple survive to, er, mate and propagate the species I
suppose. (Hope I didn't spoil that for you.)
THE DISC: Apparently, this movie was made for the Sci-Fi Channel.
Production values such as sound, image and even music (I just love those
tablas used in one track!) are surprisingly high for what was definitely a
low-budget affair. Image quality is good, even in the night scenes (then
again these have to be the most brightly lit forests at night I've ever
The image on the
disc looks mostly crisp and the sound is clear. The movie is presented in
its original 1:33 aspect ratio. No problems there.
When it comes to
the extra features though, the disc has as little meat on it as any of the
sabretooth's many ripped bare victims. There're two trailers ? one for
this movie and a teaser for what looks like a really sicko horror movie
which is also
distributed by Lion's Gate pictures.
These you access by
clicking on the icon of the lion at the bottom of the screen ? not very
helpful that. There are English & Spanish subtitles and scene access. As
you might have guessed, the advertised ?interactive menus? do not present
you with much to interact with.
I don't want to brag, but I've seen worse movies than Sabretooth.
The clichéd plot may not give viewers much more to do than predict the
order in which victims will by picked off by the movie's monster, but at
least it moves at a brisk pace. There's nary a dull moment.
While the acting is
mostly bad, the cast is at least game. But forget about genuine chills or
scares. Also, the CGI rendered tiger looks terrible. At one point, (I
swear!) a stick swung at it GOES RIGHT THROUGH IT!
I know one
shouldn't always knock bad special effects in a movie ? after all,
Ginger Snaps remains a great movie despite the hokey werewolf at the
end ? but this kitty made me long for Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. That's how bad it was!
We had a few beers before watching it and had a hoot pulling a DIY
MST3K session of our own. However, if you're the
type who must have Mike and his bots, then avoid it . . .