Metal Shifters Review

Originally titled Iron Invader, which may have been a self-conscious throwback to now gleefully cheesy monster flicks of the 1950's, Metal Shifters offers little in the way of mass monsterdom, instead focusing on one hunk of metal infected by outer space bacteria. That's the least of the film's problems really, as this SyFy channel production belongs on a long list of films that are long on ambition and woefully short on just about everything else. Wasting little time in setting up the story of a very, very small town and two brothers, Jake (Kavan Smith) and Ethan (Colby Johannson) scoring a quick buck while dumping some satellite scrap metal with Earl (Donnelly Rhodes), the town nutcase. Earl is working on a metal "golem" to commemorate the town's centennial, but when space bacteria grabs hold and enlivens the metal beast, the creature hungers for some iron-rich blood (yes) and goes on the hunt.

Where it goes from there is, well, predictable until a climax that is jaw-dropping in its inanity and yet logical when you tune into the uncanny waves this film operates on. The creature is the selling point and the cast, while featuring several TV veterans, is granted characters that are archetypes at best. Luckily, some genuine work has been put into the animation the golem and its parts, which scuttle a bit later in the film, and while puppetry fills in for full-blown action, the camera swings around madly when it can and the elusive big budget feel does peek its head up occasionally. As the denizens square off against what remains of the metal horror, the film heads toward a conclusion that will either cause you to double over in laughter or rip pieces of scalp from your head in frustration. Overall, Metal Shifters is a picture you can live without and one mispelling away from an infinitely better B-movie concept or a grimy horror flick.

DVD Bonus Features

The behind scenes look included on the DVD is handled with a straight face and includes the cast and crew delving into aspects of production. This makes perfect sense and presents a window into what a set of a tiny genre flick must be like.

"Metal Shifters" is on sale April 7, 2012 and is rated PG13. Directed by Paul Ziller. Written by Paul Ziller, Gary Hawes. Starring Donnelly Rhodes, Jesse Moss, Paul McGillion, Kavan Smith, Colby Johannson, Nicole De Boer.

Mark Zhuravsky • Staff Writer

I'm a prolific blogger, writer and editor who loves film.


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