Claws (1982)

CLAWS (1982)
Article 5059 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-24-2016
Directed by Alan Nathanson and Essy Niknejad
Featuring Jason Roberts, Brian O’Shaughnessy, Sandra Prinsloo
Country: South Africa
What it is: Not what it said it was

When a farmer breaks his leg after falling off a horse, he and his mother are taken to the hospital in Capetown. Their little boy is left to watch over the farm in his absence. He has a hard time of it, and when an unseen beast begins killing the livestock…

This was apparently marketed as a horror film about a farm boy under attack by “mutant felines”. Well, let’s put that to bed, if we may. I don’t know how long you’ll be into the movie before it occurs to you that this is no horror film; it’s a “boy coming of age” drama that just happens to have a subplot involving a feline predator. It’s no mutant; it’s a lynx, and there’s only one of them. I will admit that some wild animals can elicit a certain amount of horror reaction, but if a single lynx is on the list at all, it’s very low on it. So what we’re left with is the “coming of age” drama, and that’s a pretty tepid affair here. Part of the problem is that the central character of the boy here is rather unappealing; he’s tiresomely self-pitying, specializes in one expression that says “I’m having a hard time of it!”, and spends an inordinate amount of time walking or riding around the area calling out the names of people or animals (usually his dog). In fact, I’d call that a general rule – if more than five percent of your film involves someone walking around yelling a name, the film is probably a stinker. And let’s not get started on the boy’s bizarre semi-erotic dreams…

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