This natural horror film had no intention of ever being projected in a theater, and it doesn’t even have absurd moments to make it memorable.
Ravens ignore their natural order and conspire to murder an entire town. Let’s dig into 2007’s KAW, directed by Sheldon Wilson!
As I See It
This is a real test of my love for natural horror films. It’s a far cry from the seventies critter flicks that I grew up watching on a little nine-inch TV in my bedroom after everyone had gone to sleep on late-night cable.
Tarantino calls the seventies the golden age of filmmaking. For me, the eighties are the golden age of genre film. I’ll ultimately dub the early 2000s as the nostalgia killer. There is a made-for-naught, carefree nature to the direct-to-video tier 2000 horrors that I find inexcusable. In an era where quality filmmaking gear was becoming easier to obtain, the prowess of those who acquired it did not keep pace.
Ostensibly, the explanation for the murderous, conspiring ravens is mad cow disease. Sick, dead cows became a feast for the blackbirds and caused them to act antithetical to their evolutionary isolationist nature. We can also ignore the fact that it takes about a decade for mad cow disease to set into the infected.
There is some tension built, but it’s mainly through the performances of McHattie and Flannery.
The birds you see on screen are never threatening. It’s a mix of CGI and practical that seems more a nuisance than a fatal threat.
As much as I shit on this era of dumpster-filling physical media that isn’t worth the space it would take up on your shelf, there is a certain feel to 2000s horror that makes me feel safe. I’m not worried about the fear building in my belly or the existential crisis some character will bestow upon me as I watch them struggle with the darkest moments of existence.
This film is like dry toast when you have an upset stomach.
Rod Taylor’s (Doc) last role was a bit part as a historic figure: Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s Magnum Opus, Inglourious Basterds. But it was most likely his role as Mitch Brenner in Hitchcock’s natural horror masterpiece The Birds that landed him “the role of a lifetime” in Kaw (yes, this is sarcasm).
After nearly forty years of a busy film and television career, Canadian actor Stephen McHattie (Clyde) finally broke through and got his due with the fan favorite Pontypool in 2008.
Besides River Phoenix in The Last Crusade, Sean Patrick Flannery is the only other actor to play Indiana Jones that isn’t named Harrison Ford. He also played brother to genre darling turned mainstream heartthrob Norman Reedus in Troy Duffy’s wildly over-fetishized Boondock Saints. Perhaps his first foray into being “recognizable” was in Powder.
Of Gratuitous Nature
It’s frustrating to see actors with such talent as McHattie languishing through films like this. But I take solace in reminding myself that he got a paycheck.
Sean Patrick Flannery is so good-looking it’s frustrating. But even he, with his dreamy features, looks weary having to perform in a film of this quality.
Ripe for a Remake
This is already a soft remake of the Hitchcock classic; thus, I think it may be better to leave this bird grounded.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
There hasn’t been a high-definition physical release of the film, but there is a DVD available from Mill Creek Entertainment. You can rent it on pretty much any streaming channel.