I Like “Hyenas” (2011). Don’t Laugh.

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Wilda (Christa Campbell)

Saturday afternoon, I awoke from a post-work slumber and turned on the TV to bide my time as I waited for the energy drink I consumed to kick in for my workout. I switched to SyFy and found myself instantly entranced by a black-haired beauty with big boobs named Wilda who was snarling about being the next alpha in a B-movie mess called Hyenas (2011). I don’t like big boobs, but, I do like black hair, as well as tattoos, nose rings, short jean mini-skirts, and bad Southern accents. Wilda had all of that. I had to see this movie from the beginning. However, my DVR would only start recording from when I switched to SyFy. So, against my better judgement I rented the movie on Amazon.com for $2.99.

Hyenas-03-PosterBHyenas is about a wandering clan of were-hyenas [brought from Africa by slave traders] with ridiculous laughs who hunt by driving hapless humans off the road or by pretending to be broken down on the side of the road. The clan is led by an unseen female who is dying, and sexy Wilda (Christa Campbell) thinks she deserves to be the next alpha since she’s the only one, in her clan, smart enough to take all her clothes off before transforming into a hyena. The clan also wants to stop wandering and settle down, maybe even raise a litter of pups. However, they must first take care of two pesky were-hyena hunters. Crazy Briggs (Designing Women‘s Mesach Taylor) is a hunter by ancestry, while Gannon (Costas Mandylor) is mad at the clan because they recently ate his wife and infant child. Briggs and Gannon rescue Valerie (Amanda Aardsma) from an attack by the clan, and she repays Gannon by walking around his kitchen in her underwear and smiling her adorable crooked smile, teasing him. The two share a kiss, of course, and, eventually, take a roll in the hay [meaning they actually have sex on a bed of hay]. The first big twist is that Valerie is actually Wilda’s sister! Dun-dun-duuuun!!! She hooked up with Gannon in hopes that he would kill Wilda so that Valerie, who is also smart enough to take all her clothes off before transforming, wouldn’t have to fight Wilda to become the next alpha. The next big twist is that the town’s sheriff (Rudolph Martin) is also Wilda and Valerie’s brother! Dun-dun-duuuun!!! Wilda and Valerie, now, are forced to settle their dispute by trial (aka death match) at the old copper mines. Valerie prevails, but, Gannon sets off a ton of old dynamite stored in the mines, killing himself, Valerie, their unborn were-pup, and the whole damn clan! Oh, and there’s a secondary plot in which the town’s racist white teenage douchbags are pitted against the Mexicans who also live and work there. White girl Gina (Christina Murphy) and Mexican Marco (Jessica Alba‘s younger brother Joshua Alba) are in love. Hyenas is kind of like West Side Story (1961) [without showtunes] meets The Wild One (1953) [without outlaw bikers] mixed with The Howling (1981) [without werewolves].

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Wilda (Christa Campbell)

Hyenas, directed by Eric Weston, is a bad movie. However, it’s not the kind of bad movie that’s so bad it’s good [like Sharknado (2013)], nor is it the kind of bad movie that’s so bad it’s unwatchable [like most every other movie on Syfy]. Hyenas, for me, is a guilty pleasure. Why? Wilda. I thought I made that clear.

I tend to overlook a lot of things [like bad acting, dumb plots, etc] when I find myself drawn to [or becoming obsessed with] a female character in a movie. For instance, I really liked Tori (Evalena Marie) in Chiller’s 2011 film adaptation of Steve Niles‘ 2004 comic series Remains. She made a so-so zombie film [based on a good comic book] a whole lot better. Wilda, in Hyenas, is that character. Wilda is sexy and menacing in an over-the-top kind of way, and, actress Christa Campbell seems to be having fun with that character. I love Wilda’s fake tattoos, fake nose ring, and fake bad Southern accent; and, I even (kind of) love Campbell‘s fake big boobs. However, I think Wilda would have been better suited to more of a grindhouse-inspired B-movie set in the ’50s or ’60s with werewolves, motorcycles and sexy vixens. An all-female outlaw biker gang of werewolves, led by sexy badass Wilda, rolls into a small town to mate with the men, and feed on the women. But, one of Wilda’s sisters falls for the town’s sheriff, and, is forced to choose sides when he rallies the men against the horny and hungry biker chicks. Oooh, I like that! It could be like West Side Story meets The Wild One mixed with The Howling – for real! Anyway …

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Christa Campbell

Christa Campbell, as an actress, started in erotic softcore films, but, has since appeared in dozens of B-movies like 2001 Maniacs (2005), Mansquito [aka MosquitoMan] (2005), Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006), Revamped (2007), Showdown at Area 51 (2007), 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (2010), Spiders 3D (2013), and more. Three of those films were directed by Tibor Takács. As a producer, Campbell and her partner Lati Grobman have released Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) [starring Alexandra Daddario who has amazingly beautiful eyes just like Christa Campbell!], Embrace of the Vampire (2013) [starring Kaniehtiio Horn!], the (possibly) upcoming Texas Chainsaw 4, and others. I’ve never really noticed Christa Campbell before, but, now I’ll be checking her out in some of her other films. Now, back to Hyenas for a minute …

OK, my biggest gripe, really, with Hyenas, as with any of SyFy’s films, are the CGI effects. I’m old-school – I prefer animatronics over CGI in horror films. Bad CGI detracts from well-intentioned scares. Prosthetics and make-up are used when the clan is between human and hyena form. It’s Cats [the musical] quality, but, it’s kind of scary. However, here’s what the clan looks like when they’re fully transformed …

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Hyenas (2011)

See? It isn’t very scary at all, is it? Watch the trailer for Hyenas here …

Oh, by the way, check out this great dialogue from the movie:

Briggs: “You’re wife ain’t the first killing.”

Gannon: “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Briggs: “It means there have been other killings.”

Oh, OK. I get it now.

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One thought on “I Like “Hyenas” (2011). Don’t Laugh.

  1. Pingback: I Like “Spiders 3D” (2013). Don’t Laugh. | My Heart Explodes

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