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Komodo

Co-producer, Chris Brown.

Co-producer, Chris Brown.

Directed by Michael Lantieri. Screenplay, Hans Bauer, Craig Mitchell. Camera (color), David Burr; editor, Michael Fallavollita; music, John Debney; production designer, George Liddle. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 1999. (Also in Toronto Film Festival — Midnight Madness.) Running time: 85 MIN.

With: Jill Hennessy, Billy Burke, Kevin Zegers, Paul Gleeson, Nina Landis, Simon Westaway.

Displaced Komodo dragons rampage across an island off the North Carolina coast in this low-key thriller. Debuting director Michael Lantieri, better known for his Oscar-winning f/x work on “Jurassic Park,” takes his time to establish a creepy mood; the dragons don’t make their first appearance until halfway through the film. For the impatient, the slow buildup may be an annoyance, but it pays off, to a degree, in terms of suspense. Lack of star power will limit theatrical chances, but there’s a long life in ancillary for this well-made effort.

Pic starts off when the parents, and dog, of teenage Patrick (Kevin Zegers) are consumed by the unseen monsters, who have been allowed to breed on the island by an irresponsible petroleum company. A shrink (Jill Hennessy) unwisely suggests the traumatized boy return to the scene of the mayhem, and no sooner are they on the island, accompanied by the boy’s aunt (Nina Landis), than the carnage begins. The dragons themselves are impressively created via animatronics and computer graphics, and other technical credits are solid, with a special nod for George Liddle’s production design.

Komodo

(THRILLER -- AUSTRALIAN)

Production: A Scanbox Asia Pacific presentation of an Alan Riche/Tony Ludwig production. Produced by Riche, Ludwig. Executive producers, Devesh Chetty, Richard Vane, Jules Roman.

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