Starring Lisa Sheridan, Jonah Beres, Bruce Bohne
Directed by Jim Ojala
Mutant frogs… yep. As this one crossed my email files I was honestly wondering if this would even have been worth my time – not that my time is very much valuable, but I was sure that I could have eyeballed a few dozen other things and made the clock whittle away 90 minutes or so. In any event, this latest ramble of mine pertains to a schlocky creature flick called Strange Nature, directed by Jim Ojala (in his directorial debut), and it’s a safe bet to offer that you won’t look at frogs the same way again after the credits roll in this one.
Lisa Sheridan holds down the film’s lead role as Kim Sweet, a former 80’s pop music star who makes the tough decision to return to her hometown to look after her sick father. When she arrives in the dusty old sticks, it comes into focus that something isn’t right with not only the newest additions to the populous, but their pets and the local wildlife as well – mutations abound for everyone! Seems that the waste from a local pharmaceutical company is to blame, with toxins and other nasty junk being dumped out the back door without anyone’s knowing (those shady bastards). Sadly, when Kim tries to take her claims of wrongdoing up the public ladder, she’s shut down by everyone from the local hillbillies right up to the front door of the town’s mayor (Stephen Tobolowsky).
The progression of the film itself leaves much to be desired, with a first half that is brutally stagnant as pond water (and about as funny), the tempo manages to gain a little steam in the latter stages, and through some decent gore and creature FX, some of the shortcomings were forgiven. Performance-wise, Sheridan and Tobolowsky carried quite a bit of the weight here, with a funny supporting role from former pro wrestler John Bennington as one of the town’s local yokels, but my biggest disappointment here was the mention of the beauty that screams, Tiffany Shepis in a far too quick cameo – I’m serious here, minions – if you blink you’ll miss her altogether. Overall, Strange Nature isn’t a horrible film by any conceivable stretch, but it sure would’ve fared better if it had a chance to evolve…see what I did there?