The Killer Shrews (1959)

Rating: **
Review Date: 12/30/16

Thorne Sherman is a no-nonsense captain of a ship that's delivering supplies to a remote island, where a group of scientists are conducting experiments to research growth and metabolism. Unfortunately, one of these experiments leads to the creation of some giant shrews that are the size of a large dog and have poisonous saliva. They multiply rapidly and have a ravenous appetite, but no one can leave the island because a hurricane is about to hit. After the shrews eat all of the available food on the island, they turn their attention to the humans that are trapped in their house. Facing certain doom, Captain Sherman makes a desperate attempt to lead the survivors to the safety of his boat, since the shrews apparently can't swim.

Despite the silly premise, it's actually a fairly entertaining film. Thematically, it's a cautionary tale about the threat of overpopulation, which is represented by the shrews living in an environment that can't sustain them. The shrews are actually just dogs wearing shaggy hair and long rat-like tails, and puppets are used for the close-up head shots. Not surprisingly, the head scientist has a super attractive young daughter who takes an immediate liking to the manly captain, which causes friction with her jealous boyfriend. Why the two of them are on the island in the first place is anybody's guess. It's a low budget affair, but it does a good job of creating tension and dread.