Friday, May 2, 2014

Man's Best Friend - Review - @BrandonCSites

Man's Best Friend (1993) **1/2
D: John Lafia
C: Ally Sheedy, Lance Henriksen, Robert Costanzo, Fredric Lehne, John Cassini, William Sanderson, J.D. Daniels  

Plot Synopsis: A genetically mutated dog is accidentally released from the lab of Dr. Jarret and ends up at the home of news reporter/animal rights advocate Lori Tanner. The dog, Max, endowed with intelligence and other special abilities, is at first lovable, but also proves to be a ferocious, unstoppable killer. 

Review:  Watching Man's Best Friend, a part of me wonders how the film would have came out if they had token a more thought out approach to the horror film elements. After all, the premise involving a dog who's been genetically spliced with the characteristics of other animals in order to be the perfect killing machine could've gone either way. They could've gone for something more thoughtful such as a social commentary on the evils of using animals in lab testing or they could've gone in a purposely trashy direction. Man's Best Friend tries to have it both ways.

In some scenes, we witness the various types of relationships that dogs share with people. In other scenes, we witness the horrors that genetic testing takes on animals. Some of these scenes I found to be spot on, some were touching, some even gave you food for thought, but then the film shifts gears to throw in some outlandish horror type scenarios.

In one instance, we watch as Max, the dog, climbs up a tree to kill a pesky cat. I found myself laughing hysterically during this scene as it takes the idea of cats and dogs hating one another to absurd lengths. There's plenty more scenes like this that play out over the film's running time. Scenes like this are going for the theatrics. There's nothing subtle about these scenes. These are the type of scenes that will please those looking for some mindless entertainment.

With Man's Best Friend, you got some cheap, but effective scares. However, there's moments of insight and clarity as well. Man's Best Friend is the type of film that struggles to find a sense of identity. Is it a popcorn thriller or is it something more nuanced and considered? The various pieces of this film are entertaining on there own, but serve two legitimately different purposes. [R] 97 mins. 

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