23 October 2014

The Killer Shrews (1959)
70 min.
Directed by Ray Kellogg.
With James Best, Ingrid Goude, Baruch Lumet, Ken Curtis, Gordon McLendon, Alfredo De Soto.
What is a shrew, you ask?

A shrew is a small grey field rat, a harmless but voracious forager who commonly roams grassy or wooded areas.

At least that's what sea captain Sherman (Best) learns when he makes a special delivery to a secluded island.

There, he meets biology expert Marlowe Craigis (Lumet), his daughter Ann (Goude), and their team of assistant scientists.

Craigis has been studying animal metabolism, and hopes to control specie population by downsizing mammals to one half their full size.

Of course, in his hubristic experiments, Craigis has accidently altered the genetics of the local shrews.

Now, the little beasts have grown to the size of huge wolves, have reproduced to a pack of over 200, and have begun to terrorize the nearby woods.

Also, quite unfortunately, the shrews' food supply has dwindled to nothing...and they're still hungry. Next up on their menu: humans.

Also known as Attack of the Killer Shrews, this 1959 horror makes the most of its low budget, in particular by cultivating a bleak air of claustrophobia that works to its advantage.

Goude and Best deliver decent performances, and they lend a rather serious mood to the whole effort. There's a few effective shock moments here & there, while the ending is surprisingly suspenseful.

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