Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian Devils

Written by Brook Durham
Directed by Zach Lipovsky

Tasmanian Devils
Inspector Mom is now Ranger Mom!

What if the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons was a SyFy killer movie animal? Well, that’s not going to happen, so enjoy the next best thing, a group of supernatural real Tasmanian devils that attack a group of base jumpers and park rangers. And let’s throw in a flip-flopping gender politics theme for good measure! Thus we have Tasmanian Devils, the best movie about supernatural killer Tasmanian Devils ever! Unfortunately, due to the weird flip-flop the aforementioned gender politics thing takes, Tasmanian Devils gets the fun sucked out of it, and manages to finish as just your average SyFy flick. A shame, because there are some really good things about it. If only they had keep this pot on the stove a few minutes longer…

Dancia McKellar’s Alex is a female park ranger who becomes the defacto voice of authority when all the other rangers are slaughtered. Despite that event, in general her ideas are pretty good and her knowledge of Tasmanian devil habits and aboriginal folklore are assets to survival. But some of the basejumpers (mainly Anderson, a character who is used to being in control and having the answers himself) doesn’t listen to her and does things that work against what is best for survival because he thinks his ideas will work. They just end up in tragedy, and Alex begins to look like the golden child of knowing how to survive a horror film. She even saves a male character named Jayne (and a prior scene points out that both characters have names of the opposite genders!) But by the end of the film, Alex has suddenly become weak and helpless, needing Jayne’s protection and ideas to figure out a way to finally kill the last Supertaz. This sudden shift is strange to say the least, and makes me wonder if there wasn’t some script-flipping schenanigans going on.

Tasmanian Devils
Dental plan! Supertaz needs braces!

Alex is afraid of heights because when she was a child, her brother fell out of a high tree they both were in and died. She says in this confession that she feels guilt that she couldn’t save her brother and vowed to not get into a situation like that again. But it takes so many deaths to get to the realization that she is in the situation that is comes too late. She’s been constantly being the one to save people while working against characters doing dumb things. And instead of overcoming the obstacles and finding a way to get her and Jayne out alive, she doesn’t. Jayne, who at this point would be acting as the surrogate brother, figures out what to do to save the day. In addition, besides being a nice guy who thinks Alex knows what she’s talking about, Jayne hasn’t really come up with solutions to prior problems. His sudden inspiration is out of character. A bad conclusion to what would have been more fun.

The characters Walsh and Lisbon are developed more than Jayne. If anything, Walsh was the coolest character in the film, an awesome cop who both really loved Lisbon but also did stupid things occasionally. Their deaths impact the film by sucking much of the charisma out of it, which takes a further hit when Dancia McKellar’s Alex goes all wimpy. I wanted so hard to like Tasmanian Devils, but it made it too difficult. Instead we get a pretty by the numbers SyFy flick, complete with require references to Jurassic Park.

Tasmanian Devils
I’m about to publish my mathmatical theorem on burning your butt!

Tasmanian Devils is also pretty darn gory, which is cool. More blood for the blood god! The Tasmanian blood god! Writer Brook Durham wrote the fun SyFy flicks Showdown at Area 51 and Mammoth, while director Zach Lipovsky is an effects artist who occasionally dabbles in directing, though this looks like his first SyFy feature.

Alex (Danica McKellar) – American working for the Tasmanian Parks Service because she researches aboriginal mythology and Tasmanian devil biology. Don’t tell her the Tasmanian devils are like the cartoon! She is afraid of heights.
Jayne (Kenneth Mitchell) – A man who was afraid of heights and became a basejumper to get over his fear. Usually listens to others.
Anderson (Mike Dopud) – The man with the plan, helicopter pilot and extreme planner. But his plans are too extreme at times, resulting in some characters dying.
Walsh (Terry Chen) – NYPD officer and extreme sports enthusiest. Base jumping is his religion, the most important part of him. Is the coolest character in the movie, so you know he dies. BOOOOO!!! You might know Terry Chen from Snakes on a Plane and Battlestar Galactica.
Lisbon (Rekha Sharma) – Walsh’s fiance and a ER doctor. Walsh asked her out on a date when he came into the ER with multiple gunshot wounds. Is also a pretty cool character, so you know she dies. BOOOOO!!! Rekha Sharma is best known for her role on Battlestar Galactica.
Simon (Roger Cross) – Basejumper who trusts Anderson, but is unable to properly kick.
Supertazes (CGI) – 6 super Tasmanian devils are unleashed on our characters thanks to some idiot who fell into a hole. Good job, hole guy! When a supertaz is coming, get out of the way! A supertaz will get bigger when it eats the fallen body of a fellow supertaz.
Tasmanian Devils
The best ET shot ever.

Tasmanian Devils
Isn’t that the hole where all the Trumpy eggs were?

A bunch of eXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXtreme douchnozzels helicopter and bribe their way into an area of Tasmania that is off limits to everyone due to ongoing disputes and lawsuits between the Aboriginals and the government.

Let’s Do the Dew!

It’s basejumping in Blood Canyon! Rookie jumper Stone (played by Olympian Apolo Ohno) doesn’t pull his chute in time and ends up crashing through the ground into a cave where he’s impaled on a stalagmite. Stone bleeds into a glowing red hole that is probably a portal to Hell, the hole starts bubbling red smoky liquid. Soon Stone is gorily ripped off the spike by something!

Ranger Alex tells a tale to a tour that the aboriginals believe the Tasmanian devils are descended from a ancient beast that guarded the aboriginals. She then goes out with the other rangers (including a guy who is a combination of Crocodile Dundee and Muldoon from Jurassic Park) to arrest the trespassing basejumpers!

They do, but then decide to check out their tale of a cave and a dead teammate friend who was ripped apart by something. The rangers see the basejumpers are telling the truth, but they can’t do anything about it now and take the basejumpers back to the ranger station.

On the way, there is something in the road. Something big. Crocodile Dundee guy becomes a living Jurassic Park reference when he gets “Clever Girl”ed by the Tasmanian Devil. Okay, he wasn’t a living reference for long.

Tasmanian Devils
Of all the ironic times for someone to know the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite!
Tasmanian Devils
Burn in hell, Becky Slater!

Alex and the other ranger go to check on him, leaving the basejumpers handcuffed in the jeep. They free themselves and start to drive away as Alex’s partner gets Taz chomped. Alex spends most of her time lighting flares and looking around in the dark. Before she runs and runs and the chasing Supertaz gets hit by the jeep. Alex and the basejumpers agree to team up for safety and sleep in trees for the night.

The next morning we get some gross effects as the one ranger turns out to not be dead, just his face is impaled on a tree branch. He screams for help, luring his friends but also attracting the Supertaz, which chomps him.
tree impaled

Basejumper and cop Walsh goes all MacGuyver with gas cans and dynamite and wires and a flashlight and a taser. constructing a makeshift flamethrower. Alex determines the Supertaz is attracted to loud noises. Alex uses the flamethrower to roast a Supertaz that attacks the jeep, the jeep exploding and taking the Supertaz with it. But other Supertazes show up and eat their dead friend, getting bigger with his supernatural powers.

Tasmanian Devils
Great, the one thing I had tattooed on my arm was “Don’t get killed by mutant Tasmanian devils!”
Tasmanian Devils
That’s not how you use a straw!

Basejumper Anderson wants to use their copter to escape, while Alex wants to go to the ranger station, as the copter’s noise will attract the Supertazes. Anderson goes anyway, and soon Supertazes are chasing the copter from below and jump at it when it tries to pick up the rest of the group. Needless to say, we have one less chopper.

Anderson somehow is not killed when it crashes (though basejumper Simon and a Supertaz are both offed!)

Alex wants to go to the cave to look for instructions. The Basejumpers decide they should listen to a woman for once, and she figures out that six Supertazes are called. There is also a second entrance to the cave, which they try to use as a trap, but everything goes to pot and the Supertazes are now swarming around. Walsh dooms his fiance by calling her via radio, and himself is killed going for revenge (though he takes a Supertaz with him!) His death is rather gory, and it’s cool that half his face getting swiped off made it on TV.

The heroes hid in the helicopter wreckage and decide to blow up the wreckage in a bid to get the monsters. They manage to kill one, but Anderson gets hit by shrapnel and is too injured to continue. So he decides to lure in the monsters with his own spike trap. He impales one, and soon both badly injured combatants are crawling on the ground, Anderson stabbing the Supertaz with the shrapnel that was impaled in him, and is then Supertaz chomped.

There is now just one Supertaz left, and Alex and Jayne (the only two survivors) are holed up in the weather station cabin, which is knocked down. They run to a cliff and jump off, Jayne having a basejumping parachute to throw out, while the chasing Supertaz ends up leaping to its doom.

Well, almost doom, Alex takes a break from smooching Jayne to cap it in the head a few times for a finishing blow. Then she can get back to the shame of making out with a dude named after a character from Firefly.

Tasmanian Devils
I hope he’s just howling on that wreck and not humping it!
Tasmanian Devils
Math is Number One, With a Bullet!

Rated 6/10 (Chain Chomp Terror!, Olympic Terror!, Friend Zone Terror!, Nature Documentary Footage Terror!, Bloody Money Terror!, Cave Painting Terror!)

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Tasmanian Devils
Let’s use this flamethrower to jumpstart our car!
Tasmanian Devils
Doggy want walkies?
Tasmanian Devils
Olympic chin-camming!
Tasmanian Devils
Cave paintings: more realistic than CGI?
Tasmanian Devils
Is it true this scene was also in Jurassic Park?
Tasmanian Devils
Are you a real Tasmaniac? Get the Tasmania Parks & Forest Service patch today!
Tasmanian Devils
The director sure loves flares
Tasmanian Devils
Now is the time to talk about Milkbone god biscuits and their refreshing mint flavor…
Tasmanian Devils
Crawling on the ground. These wounds will get me eaten..
Tasmanian Devils
Forget Taz, I’m going to make a Dizzy Devil reference for all the Tiny Toons fans. Remember Tiny Toons? Remember the 90s?
Tasmanian Devils
Let me just randomly tell a story about how this happened when I was a kid and no one bothered to investigate it at all!

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