So a couple of years ago, I was wandering around Movie Stop, like I am want to do, and I happened to see this movie on the shelf. So I picked it up and looked at the back and the description piqued my interest. I do like me some Hitchcock and the description said that this was in the tradition of The Birds (coincidentally it even stars Rod Taylor, who starred in said movie.) That was honestly all the prompting I needed to buy this movie, but was it as good as The Birds? Well I guess I will find out when I watch today’s movie, Kaw.
The plot: When a farmer goes out to his barn to start his tractor, he fails to notice a raven eating behind the wheels and he runs over it. Several more ravens suddenly appear in the rafters and when he gets off the tractor to look, the ravens attack him. Even though it is his last day at the job, Sheriff Wayne is called in to check on the farm, where he discovers the body of the dead farmer. At the same time, the school’s bus driver, Clyde, is working on his bus when he is attacked by the birds but he manages to get to safety. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s wife, Cynthia, goes out to another farm to see her friend Gretchen, the daughter of a Mennonite farmer, and give her a gift. When she doesn’t get an answer at the house, she checks the barn and finds Jacob, the family patriarch, who refuses Cynthia’s gift and rushes her off of the property. Back in town, Clyde is questioned by Wayne about his firing a gun and after Clyde explains that he was attacked by a flock of birds, he leaves in order to take some of the high school’s female basketball team and their coach to a basketball workshop. After they leave, Wayne and Betty, the local diner’s owner, notice an unusual gathering of ravens outside which prompts Wayne to check Clyde’s home, where he discovers several dead ravens as well as a live raven feeding on Clyde’s dog. Meanwhile, John and Rachel,a couple that wound up lost in the town, come across a truck blocking the road underneath a bridge. When they check to see if the driver is alright, they find the driver, Rachel, dead and a raven flies out from inside the truck. Deciding to leave, they find their car and the road surrounded by ravens and as they attempt to drive away, the ravens swarm the car, forcing it off the road where it winds up catching on fire. Seeing the smoke from the car, Wayne arrives and finds Racheland John’s bodies but manages to rescue Rachel, who is seriously injured and being pecked at by ravens. Back at the Mennonite’s farm, Cynthia refuses to leave without saying goodbye to her friend so she goes back to see her. Heading back to the barn, she discovers a stall full of dead cattle and watches Jacob and another Mennonite, Oscar, burning several dead ravens while arguing about what is going on. When some ravens alert the two men to her presence, she runs but winds up falling into an offal pit. Arriving back at town, Wayne takes the injured Rachel to the doctor’s office, where Doc notes that the dead farmer had similar lacerations on his face. His deputy, Stan, calls his attention to the window, where they notice ravens gathering all over the place, and a young boy trapped out on the road. Wayne goes out to rescue the boy but when Stan grabs a shotgun and goes out to help, the ravens attack and kill him before leaving, knocking out the phone lines as they leave. Meanwhile, Clyde is driving the girls back from the workshop when one of the girls, Doris, accidentally knocks the bus out of gear with her basketball, causing the bus to stall out. As Clyde attempts to get the bus started, Doris argues with her coach about just walking home when the bus is attacked by a flock of ravens. Gretchen and Connie manage to use the bus horn to scare off the birds then go outside, where they find Doris and Clyde under the bus but their coach, Emma, was severely injured and ends up dying. Back at the farm, Cynthia repeatedly tries to climb out of the offal pit but is unable to get out. When night falls, Jacob finds her and helps her out of the pit, then reluctantly tells her about how his herd began to die, then the ravens fed on the dead cattle. Back at the bus, Clyde tries to get the bus started again but the ravens return, forcing him to get back on the bus. The ravens then begin pelting the bus with rocks in an attempt to break the windows but Wayne arrives and manages to rescue everyone. As they head back into town, the ravens pursue them and end up forcing them off the road and into a corn field, where they wind up stuck in the mud. Trying to make their way to Betty’s on foot, Connie is killed by the ravens but the rest of them manage to make it to Betty’s, where they are met by Betty, Doc, Cynthia, and Oscar (Gretchen’s father). Once inside, Oscar comes clean about what happened, telling them that some of their cattle had become sick with mad-cow disease and the ravens fed on the dead cows. When Jacob and his family burned the dead cows, the ravens began to turn and attack the people. Outside, the ravens begin breaking all of the lights so the people begin to use whatever they can to board up the windows but some of the ravens manage to break in. When Betty is killed by the ravens, Clyde goes outside and sets the fuel pumps on fire, causing a massive explosion that kills many of the birds. The next morning, the survivors go outside, where they see the remaining birds on the ground where they appear to be dying for some reason. Feeling the danger has passed, Wayne and Cynthia return home only to be attacked by some ravens that were inside their house.
Not quite what I expected but this wasn’t a bad movie. The acting was pretty decent among all the characters, which is not something you usually see. I am not saying they are all Oscar winning performances, but every character did a good job in their individual roles. The story was pretty good. There really aren’t that many killer bird movies and this one did a good job with the idea. I did like how they showcased ravens as being highly intelligent, such as their picking up rocks and using them to attack the bus, but I don’t know if that was an accurate depiction. The effects were surprisingly decent for a Syfy original movie but I have seen a lot worse. A decent movie from a little used theme.
Rating: 3 out of 5