Review taken from my website Slasher Movies Uncovered. For more reviews like this, use the link http://slicendiceslasherfilms.blogspot.com
Anyone afraid of rodents? After watching this movie, you will either find them to be the scariest thing ever, or the funniest. "The Killer Shrews" is a 1959 movie that was directed by Ray Kellogg. It is a very underrated movie, and it doesn't deserve the bad reputation people have given it. I personally love it for its hilarious nature, great climax, and likable cast.
The movie begins on a boat, with two men named Thorne and Griswold sailing to an island. When they arrive at their destination, they meet a couple other people. Their names are Dr. Marlowe and Ann Cragis, and fiancée Jerry Farrell. The three veterans to the area are concerned when they find that the pair aren't leaving, because their is apparently going to be an invasion of animals. Knowing that their minds won't be changed, the civilians decide to welcome them into their home, and they introduce him to their colleagues Mario and Dr. Radford Baines. Baines shows the men his idea to test shrews, and for serums. After a while if socializing happens, the movie cuts to the woods, where a mysterious creature attack Griswold. We are later to find out that these monsters are....the killer shrews..
One of the reasons that I love this movie is its low budget. It may not be scary, but I have more fun watching it than most other movies. It is absolutely hilarious, and surprisingly cool at the same time. The giant shrews are one of the funniest practical effects ever, because they were both hand puppets and dogs in a costume. I think that rather than this being a weakness, it really shows how inventive the filmmakers were, and it brings a lot of campiness to the movie that made it more engaging. What is even crazier is the attack scenes. When the shrews bite, they don't even connect, yet a big bloody wound is shown. I honestly laughed so hard at these scenes that I almost cry. I personally like this fairness a lot because it is way more fun than some of the brutally realistic movies.
For a B-Movie, the acting was actually a little better as expected. James Best took the lead of Thorne, and even though this movie was made decades before, you can really feel the Roscoe in his character(except not as dumb). He is a very likable guy, and has the perfect way of portraying the tough character. Ingrid Goude was your typical scream-queen as Ann, but she had a great chemistry with Best, and was highly enjoyable. The one trip up she made was trying to hold back a laugh after the death of a character. I honestly can't blame her, because she was looking at the puppet, but it was quite apparent. Ken Curtis was the usual jerk fiancée that gets in the way of the ️love story, and he did a great job of making the viewer hate him. Gordon McLendon and Baruch Lumet were the weak links in the cast as the doctors, because they didn't have much depth to their acting. Even so, they still did their job, and were likable enough.
I feel like the climax of the movie was impressing in the way that it was actually pretty suspenseful. As the characters try to barricade the area for their own safety, while the shrews come from everywhere. I almost forgot how stupid they looked, because they started to really impose some threat to the people. I also like the how arrogance of Jerry becomes a huge indicator of his fate, because it is actually quite real to life. The ending itself was happy(for some of the characters), and even though it was predictable, it was the typical B-Movie ending that I have grown to love.
If there was one weakness(not counting the low budget that I like), it would be that the movie was too fast. At 69 minutes, I felt robbed about how quickly things flew by me. I wish there could've been more scenes with the shrews, because there could've been at least 10-15 more minutes worthy.
Overall, while extremely cheesy, this movie has always been one of my favorite B-Movies. It is fun, hilarious, and actually executed quite well. I definitely recommend it to all fans of cinema, because it is one of the great monster movies of the 1950's.