As I got myself comfortable beef-ore watching this moo-vie I really hoped spending a couple hours watching it wouldn’t be a mi-steak. Cows are dumb acting and even dumber looking than that opening sentence of bad puns. They aren’t the most fortunate of critters either, always getting sick in one way or another. Foot and mouth disease, bovine TB, BSE or Mad Cow Disease that leaves them dribbling and falling over more often than a drunk drooling over Misty Mundae.
They get a real bad deal all round and their luck hasn’t changed here. An experiment to increase their fertility and growth goes awry resulting in nasty little critters living inside of the calves, as well as cows that like biting people.
As an eco-disaster, scientists shouldn’t tamper with this kind of stuff movie, this does work pretty well, although its remote Irish setting does limit the scope of the story somewhat. Perhaps this is a good thing, although one can’t help but think that, considering the very few cast members, an opportunity for deep character development was missed here. Sean Harris as Jamie, the farmer baffled and bewildered by all the developing madness, does a good job of expressing his shock and puzzlement, but other than him I didn’t really take to any of the other characters. They all felt a little on the cliched side, didn’t really fit in or possess any traits to make them more than neutral.
The emphasis is very much on producing a moody, atmospheric movie, and other than the problem with the characters mentioned above, it succeeds at that. Don’t expect any dazzling feats of CGI wizardry, this is a film that works on atmosphere. There’s what I thought was some really nice camerawork in here, shots well done so that the scene is set and the lack of ground breaking s/fx doesn’t force itself to the viewers attention. That’s not to say that the effects are bad, far from it. They do their job and look pretty good.
What director/writer Billy O Brien brings us is a pretty good film that makes a pleasant change from some of the more hectic movies so in vogue today. It’s fairly subtle, nicely filmed, and the story is interesting. I can’t really rave about it, but it is certainly a good watch and a promising movie in his career. Atmospheric, creepy, and an intelligent story. Give it a try.
Director: Billy O’Brien
Writer: Billy O’Brien
Actors: Essie Davis, Sean Harris, Marcel Lures, John Lynch
Release Year: 2005