Movie Review: 'Roadkill'


"Relatively speaking" is a pretty important phrase to employ when trying to dole out a little bit of praise for a SyFy Channel movie -- but if the network churns out a lot of stuff that's worthy of mockery (and they do), then it only seems fair to be a little kind and gracious when the occasion calls for it. This is not to assert that their latest DVD release, Roadkill, is any sort of startling revelation from the prolific schlock-house, but it is a noted improvement. Relatively speaking.

Shot, to its credit, in Ireland (as opposed to the usual Bulgaria or Romania), Roadkill doesn't deviate from the established "monster movie" formula, but it does have some modest assets at its disposal. The screenplay isn't exactly one of them: the story covers a bunch of young Americans who are touring across Ireland, only to stir up some trouble with the sweaty locals, run over an errant gypsy woman, and hightail it into a wilderness dominated by a freakishly large man-eating bird. (It's known as a "roc" in various ancient legends, but really it's just a massive CG buzzard with a big appetite.)

Although patently generic for most of the flick, Rick Suvalle's screenplay does offer a few interesting diversions. Aside from the mega-buzzard, the angry locals quickly become nasty predators in their own right, plus there's a "gypsy curse" issue that gets a small dose of mileage here. The young adults / eventual birdfeed are a predictably mixed lot: pretty girl, wise-ass guy, sassy bitch, handsome jock, etc., and they pretty much give the dialogue as much creativity as it deserves. Oh, and Stephen Rea shows up later on and contributes three bored-looking scenes. Yeah, that Stephen Rea. Maybe he lived right near the production tents.

Generic where it should be inept and passably entertaining where it should be stupidly unwatchable, Roadkill is one of the better examples of the SyFy / RHI / Maneater Series collection, but that's probably just because the bulk of them are pretty darn amateurish. If the idea of watching a giant, pissed-off buzzard eat a bunch of goofballs sounds like fun to you, Roadkill should capably divert your attention for 81 minutes.