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Monday, January 1, 2018

Orcs! (2011)



Well this was an odd one. I was poking around Amazon Prime when I saw this and added it to my watch list. It sounded interesting enough. I mean Orcs normally only show up in fantasy and not horror movies. Having them as the big bad in a horror flick was out of the ordinary. Took a while for me to get around to actually watching it, but Orcs! eventually did get its turn.

The action starts off in the past, 1909 to be exact. A miner is digging for something when he is surprised by a park ranger. It is at that time that something shows up, kills the miner, and chases the ranger until he blows up the mine sealing whatever it was in with him. This is important because when we meet our main cast in the present day that original ranger is a hero! Though they don’t know why or how he died.

Our main characters are ranger Cal, trainee Hobart, and Cal’s ex-girlfriend Katie. We also get some minor characters like Marge and Dan the pee cup Man. Though anyone beyond the top three basically exist for the purpose of being killed by the Orcs. It isn’t explained how they break out, but the Orcs do and start killing all the park guests they find. When Cal and Hobart are stopped from escaping by a roadblock they flee back into the park and run into Katie, Marge, and Dan the pee cup Man. They do battle with the Orcs as the green skinned invaders pick them off one at a time. Eventually they retreat to the ranger station and make their last stand there. Who lives and who dies? Well it doesn’t look good for Dan the pee cup Man… Sorry I just love that character’s name.

I didn’t realize that this was a comedy when I added it to my list. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily but this kind of movie can be much more difficult to pull off. Though they do a decent job with the humor. The character of Cal is an amusing slacker that confiscates the pot from some teenagers and “tests” it out to make sure it is real. Or at least that is what he tells Hobart, who tells Marge, which is why Dan the pee cup Man arrives in the park. There are also some funny lines about LARPing (Live Action Roleplaying) that works in a movie that has a fantasy staple like Orcs in it. I also thought some of the physical comedy was decent. There is a funny bit with a severed foot that was amusing.

Where Orcs! is disappointing happens when the creatures attack. First you really have to know your budget. While they do try and make the dozen or so costumed Orcs appear to be an army with camera tricks it doesn’t hold up well. Maybe tweaking the plot so that there were just a few would have worked better. This leads to my other complaint. The movie drags a lot towards the end with one scene after another of the Orcs! running at the building as the characters shoot at them. It feels like they didn’t know how to end the movie and just kept replaying the same bit over and over again until they had hit the runtime. All this and the movie is still just seventy-eight minutes long!

This is one of those movies that I neither like or dislike. It just kind of exists in that gray area of mediocrity as an oddity that answers the trivia question, “Has anyone ever used Orcs as the creature in a horror movie?”. If you must see this I would recommend renting or better yet watching it on Amazon Prime. If I had spent money on Orcs! I might be annoyed.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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