John Schneider stars in the schizophrenic 2012 horror comedy farce, “The Return of the Killer Shrews.” In 1959, James Best starred in the original as Thorne Sherman, a ship captain who delivers supplies to a research team on an island. He barely escapes with his life (as well as the leading lady) from the voracious killer shrews.
In the sequel, which occurs some 50 years after the original, Thorne is enticed by the money offered by a reality show to return to the secluded island with the narcicisstic cast and flaky crew.
Johnny Reno (John Schneider), a leading man a little past his prime, stars in the reality show along with the rest of the shallow cast which spends its time vapidly preening. However, the crew begins to disappear one by one, slaughtered by mysterious creatures that Thorne soon identifies as killer shrews.
John Schneider as Johnny Reno channels John Wayne as well as a rather terrible Tarzan, and looks for any and every opportunity to take off his shirt for the camera. However, he is taken down by the voracious shrews which have been raised by Thorne’s old enemy, Jerry Farrel, played convincingly by Bruce Davison. Jerry has become the alpha shrew of the pack thanks to a whistle he uses to communicate.
James Best as Thorne Sherman has the best lines and some of the most noteworthy scenes in the movie as he strives to warn the cast and crew about he dangers of the island. When he uncovers a bloody dollar bill, Thorne flippantly remarks that “it will spend anyway.” When called an old timer he retorts, “I’ll whip you like an omelet.”
Thorne tells parts of his earlier adventures through vintage clips from the original movie which are some of the best parts of the sequel as the older Thorne remembers his youthful adventure.
Jason-Shane Scott as Sam the Unit Production Manager is also worth noting.
The movie has a cheesy story line, reprehensible special effects (they should have stuck to rug-covered dogs like the original), and lackluster over acting other than the roles noted, but “The Return of the Killer Shrews” is campy enough to be amusing. “Dukes of Hazzard” fans will enjoy seeing John Schneider, James Best and Rick Hurst together and catching inside jokes from the show.
Don’t watch “The Return of the Killer Shrews” expecting to be scared, but if you are looking for some corny laughs, this movie should fit the bill.
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