Sometimes, I really have to stop and wonder who ultimately benefits from all of these made-for-cable-TV movies that regularly appear on the SyFy Channel. Is it Canada; the country that not only allows semi-veteran and wannabe filmmakers alike to run wild about its breathtaking wilderness, but also funds their micro-budgeted projects as well? Perhaps the gain here is being raked in by the suits at the SyFy Channel. You know: those who buy these Canadian-made TV movie imports and squeeze out all the money they can from their sponsors — promising their airtime backers oodles of sales in return for having their name associated with crappy CGI monsters and unbelievably bad acting.
But then, it may just be those poor souls who (according to all the Nielsen reports at my disposal) voluntarily sit and watch SyFy Original Movies like Behemoth every week without want of things that the rest of the world takes for granted: multifaceted storylines, a less-dreary existence, oxygen, et cetera.
Now, normally, the course of a SyFy Channel Original Movie from its inception to its network premiere would signify a case of everyone winning. The filmmakers and backers would get what they want — which, shockingly, usually only turns out to be a case of Molson each. The sponsors would be more than happy to market their goods to hopeless science fiction addicts, bored hotel guests, and the ever-swelling hordes of convalescent home patients everywhere (look, if they can afford celebrity salespeople like Billy Mays and Chuck Norris, you know someone is buying their shit!). Even the nearly-lobotomized viewers sitting at home would be happy — mostly because they were nearly-lobotomized, but primarily because they had hoped to witness the birth of another cult classic.
I take no pleasure in informing you that Behemoth, however, will not be escalating to a “cult” status anytime soon. I also highly doubt that anyone on either the production or distribution side of the film actually benefited in any way, shape or form as a result of being involved with it.
Our story begins in a sleepy mountain town, where strange goings-on occur once the massive titular critter decides the human race has become too big for its britches. A deadly layer of CO2 coats the grounds of the forest above the town, causing untold losses to the squirrel population and some guy named Joe. Giant sinkholes force buildings to relocate a few feet down, resulting in a general air of discomfort for a couple of residents (namely William B. Davis, of The X-Files fame). Finally, after a lot of talk, little action, some pretty poor CGI effects, and only one character getting eaten by the creature (off-screen at that!), the movie’s hero (Ed Quinn) dispatches the finally-awake-enough-to-come-out-and-play Behemoth with a secret government-assembled weapon.
Even from a “bad movie” perspective, Behemoth still sucks. The actors are so fucking bored, they don’t even bother to ham it up; the creature has nothing to do with any incarnation of the biblical beastie, so don’t hold your breath there; and the story and special defects are trite at best (the project was shot so very rarely do the real actors have to be seen with the fake critter — which should tell you something). Worst of all, the filmmakers missed a golden opportunity to insert a song by the Polish metal band Behemoth.
Vivendi Entertainment’s DVD release of Behemoth (part of its illustrious “Maneater Series”) is about as exciting as the movie itself: a barebones disc with a barely-animated menu that only gives you the option of either playing the beast of selecting a scene. The movie is presented in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio (as it was aired) with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. Overall, the A/V aspects of this throwaway creature feature are superb for a Standard-Definition home video release of a made-for-Cable-TV monster movie: the image is pretty crisp and clear, while the sound is pretty decent. No subtitles or alternate audio options are present, while the lack of any special features whatsoever (aside from a trailer at the startup of the disc) makes this title all the more forgettable.