You know what's an important topic nobody ever seems to be addressing is? The lack of dinosaur horror; there's simply not enough dinosaur slasher flicks out there to scratch the itch, but director Gerald Rascionato recently tackled the subject matter in his latest film CLAW, and it's honestly about damn time. Writing a horror movie based around a dinosaur has to be tricky if the story takes place in modern day, because you're bringing a prehistoric predator into the modern age and no matter what you do, you're going to have audiences who say it's tacky. That's part of the reason why CLAW works so well - it's enough of a horror comedy that it doesn't mind being a little goofy and laughing at itself without being tacky, and it's got enough predator vs prey action to warrant itself the horror title. Claw really does feel like it's an even 50% of both parts horror and comedy without feeling dumb. Honestly, it's not even one of those "it's so bad it's good" films either, so don't mistake my words: Claw is a pretty straight forward, fun hour. You're not going to get any Earth shattering storyline but you're not going to get led on, waiting for a lame-ass dinosaur to make its one shitty appearance. Oh, no - if you're coming to Claw because you want to see a menacing, ferocious raptor, that's what you're going to get.. and not some Cloverfield style stuff where you see the beast for a split second either. Claw puts you face to face with the predator numerous times, and for an indie horror the cgi on the raptor actually looks pretty decent. Hyperrealistic? Nah, but it does more than its job to satisfy the dino lovers out there. If you want a unique, predator vs prey story with some goofy laughs and two fun lead characters, Claw is far from the worst thing you could be spending your money on this weekend!
Julia (Chynna Walker) and Kyle (Richard Rennie) are two friends on a road trip to California where Julia will be performing her stand up routine. As they're driving through the desert, their tire pops and they end up having to walk to the nearest point of civilization: a ghost town run by a lonely man named Ray (Mel Mede). The pair ask Ray for help getting their car sorted so they can get back on the road, but Ray insists they have no phone and its best to wait until the morning, when Ray's brother will be back with the car and can get them the help they need. So Julia and Kyle prepare to spend the night in an RV parked out on the property of this ghost town, but before long they find themselves at the holding pen for a prehistoric predator. The creature gets loose and the hunt begins as a massive and terrifying raptor stalks and hunts the three humans, hungry for their meat I'm sure. Their road trip goes from bad to worse as they must survive the night in this rundown ghost town in the middle of the desert, and hopefully either escape the claw of this ancient beast or kill it without getting devoured. Will they survive, or will the end up nothing more than a plaything for a velociraptor?! Find out in... CLAW!
You wouldn't think in a movie like this one you would find yourself giving any sort of shit about the characters, you just want to see a killer dino, right?! Believe it or not, Walker and Rennie really manage to make you feel like their characters are best friends because the back and forth banter between the two of them just feels so natural. They are actually both totally enjoyable to see on screen - especially together - and honestly, even throwing Ray into the picture just makes it that much better. I was honestly shocked I cared when the hunt is underway and one of the characters could have died, but there I was. So major credit has to go to Walker and Rennie for making me care about their dino-bait characters. Now when it comes to the actual plot of the film, Claw actually feels pretty well written and well thought out; there's definitely a twist or two throw in there that will come out of nowhere, so credit has to be given where credit is due. I think the background story of how a fucking velociraptor managed to not only survive out in this ghost town but be undetected by its inhabitants could have maybe been a little more creative and elaborated on - simply because it really isn't, and the film relies on you paying close attention to the opening sequence to explain it all. There may have been some other cool ways of going about a raptor origin story, but honestly, if that's the weakest point of the film then it's a good weak point to have. Because once that beast gets unleashed on the trio, every step they take really is life or death. Like I said, the predator gets plenty of on screen time and some of the scenes with it in it are absolutely stunning, namely the shot from the movie poster with Julia going toe to toe with the raptor. It's a pretty stunning scene that looks awesome and definitely ups the ante for the film.
The runtime of the film is an hour and twenty minutes, but when you cut out the credits (which roll really slowly), the film really only clocks in at just over an hour. I know this will be an issue for some, arguing that there's so much more they could've done and blah blah. While the hour is short and did go by pretty fast, I don't think I'd agree with it being pushed longer just for the sake of being longer. Claw told its story, and it told it really well with some great jokes thrown in. I don't think the film needed filler just to buff up the runtime; it had everything it needed in it for me to feel satisfied with the story and its outcome, and I think the hour the film had me was enough. I'd rather spend my time and money on a short film that does its job than a longer film that has a bunch of shit added to it just to make it run longer. Like I said, Claw does what it needs to do, and it does it well. The raptor is awesome, the characters are awesome, and the twists and payoff at the end make your investments in the film worth it. What else could you ask for, besides maybe two dinos?! Check out CLAW, out now on streaming services!