Saturday, September 21, 2013

SyFy vs. The Mynd: Flying Monkeys (2013)

Today in "animal smuggling is not a good idea" news, one hapless importer (Christopher Michael Cook) of protected animals for his small animal shop in the little town of Gale, Kansas brings a bit more trouble into the country than he expected. The newly acquired monkey he sells to James (Vincent Ventresca) - who needs the animal to calm the waters between himself and his daughter Joan (Maika Monroe) after he has forgotten her high school graduation ceremony(!) - is in fact not an innocent little monkey but a demon.

By night, the little bugger turns into a ravenous, winged monster monkey eating animal and human alike. On the positive side, he flies back home to Joan's and James's place on time and doesn't need to be fed. He has grown rather fond of Joan too, which might become important later on.

Meanwhile in China (looking curiously like Louisiana), the last in a long tradition of demon monkey hunters (Boni Yanagisawa and Lee Nguyen) are hoping to wrap up their family business forever by first getting rid of the last demon monkey in China, and then finding out where the hell those foolish animal smugglers have taken the other monkey, who just happens to be their leader. When they learn that the animal has been brought to the USA, the hunters know they have to act fast, for the monkeys have one rather useful super power: they can only be killed with special blessed weapons. Otherwise, when shot, for example, a killed monkey resurrects and turns into two monkeys. Given the proliferation of guns in the USA, and people's love of using them, this could spell trouble, an analysis the further developments in Dorothy-less Kansas prove all too right.

So yes, Robert Grasmere's Flying Monkeys is one SyFy movie out to teach its audience two valuable lessons: animal smuggling is troublesome, and using guns only furthers the problem you're trying to solve with them in the long run. Both are lessons quite difficult to disagree with, particularly when they come from a film as agreeably imaginative and earnestly silly as this one.

As all other SyFy movies ever, Flying Monkeys also drops important knowledge about family troubles, namely, that your widowed father might be too distracted to come to your high school graduation on time, but he'll put in extra time once you're threatened by flying killer monkeys. Though (and that's another quite agreeable element here) a teenage daughter might still need to do her main monkey killing without daddy. So don't let anyone tell you again you can learn nothing worthwhile from SyFy's output.

The rest is a competent standard SyFy monster movie without aggressive comedy stylings, with some fun set pieces particularly once the monkeys have begun multiplying, friendly shout-outs in the direction of Oz (obviously) and Gremlins, and the usual assortment of monster-food teenagers, sheriffs and evil animal importers. So if you're in for a simple, fun, and decidedly non-stupid time, Flying Monkeys has got your back (in its claws to drag you onto a roof and eat you).

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