20091 h 30 min

The residents of a small Alaskan town find themselves under attack by a flying reptile known in medieval mythology as a Wyvern. It has thawed from its ancient slumber by melting icecaps caused by global warming.

Director Steven R. Monroe
Runtime 1 h 30 min
Release Date 31 January 2009
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Not bad

Wyvern is our first review because it fills a gap that was missing from our last book review. How to Survive a Sharknado covered monsters that attack by land and creatures that come from the sea, but there was nothing about beasts that hunt from the sky. Now this is a Syfy Channel movie so do not expect any kind of masterpiece. But for a B-movie monster flick, Wyvern is actually pretty good. The premise is straightforward; a wyvern (basically a dragon that cannot breathe fire) attacks a small Alaskan town. With the creature flying overhead and preventing any kind of escape the surviving townies must figure out how to kill it. While the film does only rate at 3 stars overall, it is a 5 out of 5 compared to other monster movies (especially Syfy Channel Originals).

The cast of the movie did a pretty good job and their roles were well written. You have the drifter who just came into town and is obvious monster killing material. He of course meets a local waitress who will come to love him through the shared traumatic experience of a near-death experience. The supporting characters are also fun, from the local older gentleman who frequents the diner to the young radio hostess. Wyvern was also dedicated to the late Don S. Davis, best known for his role as General John Hammond on Stargate SG-1, who plays the conspiracy believing firearm enthusiast. The isolationist element of the film, small cast, and overall horror comedy setting gives Wyvern the feel of similar monster movies like Tremors, Eight Legged Freaks, and Lake Placid.

Story elements of the film feature a ton of classic B-movie tropes. There is an upcoming festival that town officials refuse to call off despite the growing signs of danger, which naturally results in a high body count when the Wyvern finally comes to town. The small town setting winds up with the characters becoming isolated with help too far away to come to their rescue. Despite these tropes and others, Wyvern features a story that goes beyond the standard monster movie. All of the characters feel like actual people, with reasonably real reaction to the crazy situation they are in, and the actors do a good job of portraying the roles they were given. Having qualities of a good film balanced with what audiences come to expect from a monster movie are largely what make Wyvern so much better than other Syfy Channel films.

Now of course we also have to discuss the monster itself. The titular Wyvern is a large aerial creature so we get a good look at it pretty early on in the film. The CGI used to create the creature is also very good for a made-for-TV movie, nothing clunky and choppy like many other budget films. But while the out of film origins of the creature are great, the in-story origins needed a bit of work. The wyvern is freed from an iceberg due to global warming and that is fine. They could have ended the explanation there and it would have been ok. But it is later explained that the wyvern was once imprisoned in ice by the Norse god Odin after angering him. Stories of wyverns come from Britain; the bit about a Norse origin seems to have been completely made up for the film (maybe to put the creature’s point of origin closer to Alaska?). Aside from this, the Wyvern was top notch for a budget creature feature.

July 10, 2016

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