Directed by Gerald Rascionato.
Starring Chynna Walker, Richard Rennie, Mel Mede, and Ken Mertz.
Two friends get trapped inside a remote desert ghost town with a deadly velociraptor on the loose.
As if the prospect of another impending Jurassic World movie, in which a billionaire (probably) opens another park with more dinosaurs – or a T-Rex and a pair of raptors because they were so popular in the original movie nearly 30 years ago – escaping and causing mayhem by trapping exactly the right two children to cause Chris Pratt to jump into action, wasn’t exciting enough there is also Claw hitting screens to help satisfy your craving for more dino action.
But be warned – Claw is not a blockbuster extravaganza featuring state of the art CGI effects, star names and a sprawling script worthy of a budget to match. However, nor is it a SyFy-like monstrosity containing awfully rendered cartoon creatures and faded TV actors/’80s pop stars trying to keep their dignity (and bank balance), but instead is something in between by being a B-movie creature feature with its tongue firmly in its cheek, a promising lead performance and – probably most importantly – a CGI dinosaur that isn’t up there with Steven Spielberg’s still-impressive creations when it comes to realistic movement but neither is it that bad that you can’t accept it, especially when you consider the comedic tone and the budgetary restrictions the filmmakers were working with.
And so that leaves us with the plot, but instead of billionaires opening theme parks Claw seems to take its inspiration from The Hills Have Eyes as budding stand-up comedian Julia (Chynna Walker) and her best friend Kyle (Richard Rennie) are making their way across the desert to Los Angeles for Julia to perform a gig. As is always the case an animal runs out into the road causing the car to swerve and puncture a tyre, and so the pair walk back towards the ghost town tourist attraction they drove past a few miles back in the hope of some help.
But you know what it’s like when you turn up at these places and the fence is padlocked and, being a ghost town, nobody is about. Nobody, that is , except for Ray (Mel Mede), who does his best upset local impression before you realise he’s actually quite a nice guy, although he isn’t much help as there is no phone, his truck isn’t available and – and here’s the kicker – there is a scientifically engineered velociraptor on the loose because, well, reasons.
So you see, instead of mutant hillbillies roaming the desert we have a dinosaur and for the next hour our trio run around and attempt to escape the wild beast as it tries to recreate all of the best poses from Jurassic Park. Most B-movies rip-off something bigger and (not always) better and Claw, despite its madcap premise, is extremely limited by its budget and script, which comes in at just over an hour long despite the overall running time being 80 minutes, thanks to the slowest rolling credits ever. Thankfully, for the most part, the movie plays to its strengths by using the remote location well (which is probably easier when your monster isn’t actually there on set), and relying on Chynna Walker’s likeable screen persona and her rapport with her co-star to carry the script along. Richard Rennie himself gets a bit too much at times, his shrill voice and overly-camp performance threatening to step over the line into parody but when he is bantering with Chynna Walker you do believe they are best friends and care about each other.
Ultimately, Claw is a fun little movie to put on if you fancy an hour’s worth of cheap, cheerful and fairly light-hearted monster madness but any analysis beyond that will reveal its biggest flaws, mainly the ending being rushed and compromised due to a lack of budget and/or ideas. If, however, you stop the movie as the main story ends then it harmlessly scratches the itch for a dinosaur movie made with a bit of heart and love for the genre rather than rehashing the same tired old plots of the Jurassic World movies which by now are, ironically, being churned out just because they can be rather than because they should. Claw at least adds a little diversion to two well-worn genres by smashing the creature feature together with backwoods hillbilly horror (and all that comes with them) for a bit of a giggle, and as well as being more enjoyable than Jurassic Park III, that is about all it offers.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★