‘You’re not in Kansas anymore!’
Flying Monkeys is a 2013 American horror film produced for the Syfy Channel. Directed by Robert Grasmere (being better known as a special effects supervisor on films such as Prince of Darkness, Predator 2 and The Mothman Prophecies) from a screenplay written by Silvero Gouris.
The movie stars Maika Monroe (Tau; It Follows; The Guest; Bad Blood), Vincent Ventresca (Mammoth; Larva; Morphman) and Electra Avellan (Machete Kills; Machete; The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond; Death Proof; Planet Terror).
Aboard a small aircraft, exotic-animal smugglers are returning to base with their latest haul of contraband. Unfortunately for them, stowed away is an extremely upset flying monkey. Making short work of two of the smugglers, the pilot manages to land the plane and quickly sells on the feisty beast (which has now returned to standard monkey shape) to a small-town pet shop owner who has no qualms about what he sells or where it comes from.
Elsewhere in the town, inevitably situated in Kansas, high school graduate Joan (Maika Monroe) has been left to celebrate alone by her father (Vincent Ventresca) who has a track record of finding other things to do at his daughter’s expense. In a bid to make amends, he purchases the cute little monkey we met earlier because nothing says sorry quite like a caged primate.
Jealous of the attention the monkey is getting, Joan’s boyfriend indulges in the pleasures of the school prom queen, only for them both to be torn to pieces by the flying monkey little Skippy turns into at nightfall.
Skippy starts making ever-more regular journeys out at night, fuelled by blood-lust and it isn’t long before locals, hunters and know-it-alls are gathered together to save the town from an embarrassing demise.
Sadly for them, shooting the beast only causes the creature to multiply Hydra-like and a mystical weapon is required to slay Skippy and his ever-growing offspring…
Syfy movies tend to veer from better than you’d expect (though still impossible to recommend whole-heartedly) to down-right awful and surprisingly this lands in the first camp. Despite a host of actors who make their living appearing in similar schlock, the story is told with an impressive disregard for sense and reason and doesn’t hang around trying to weave story arcs and tension or other trivial matters.
The real saving grace is the extremely passable CGI effects which are made all the more acceptable by virtue of the fact that the monkeys only do their killing at night, hiding a multitude of sins.
A nice change from the endless parade of sharks, it’s a harmless excuse to bring to centre-stage some of cinema’s creepiest creatures some seventy-five years after they first appeared. One word of warning – the line “no more monkey business” is uttered.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA
“Yes, it is a SyFy original which means it is still saddled with the usual SyFy shortcoming such as dodgy CGI, suspect acting and a blandly handsome middle-aged former television star as its lead [….] while the CGI monkey might not have been the most convincing CGI evil flying monkey around, looking like a mix between plastic and clay, it was one crazy, violent @ss monkey. It ate everything.” Film Critics United
“With a ridiculous story, clunky dialogue, some poor acting, and flying monkey things brought to the screen through the use of some sub-par CGI, Flying Monkeys is a “so bad it’s good” sort of movie, reaching the level of being decently entertaining largely because of how dopey it is […] Kick back and have some fun with it.” Life Between Frames
“If you peel back the silly layers, it is pretty much every Syfy Film. With few exceptions, they all tend to feel ‘samey.’ You can take just about every silly premise and see the same basic film […] The CG is pretty bad when you see it alongside real people. The acting is not that great as a whole. The whole thing certainly feels cheap.” Mondo Bizarro
“It’s too formulaic, lacks atmosphere in a few too many places, the monsters simply don’t look creepy enough, the directorial effort as a whole feels a little on the impersonal side, and the film quite simply takes itself way too seriously for its fun subject matter. All of this doesn’t make the film a train wreck, it’s pretty much an ok watch, actually…” Search My Trash
Sheriff Flemings: “Ok Bruce Lee, feel free to make things better.”
James: “Hey! Monkeybreath! Get. Off. My porch!”
Cast and characters:
Electra Avellan … Sonya
Alvin Chon … Wang
Christopher Matthew Cook … Rudy (as Matt Cook)
Michelle DeVito … EMT Raines
Tyler Forrest … Paul
Mike Kimmel … Principal Smith
David Kranig … Tompkins – Jim
Jaci LeJeune … Senior in Car
Maika Monroe … Joan
Lee Nguyen … Chin – Lee
Brian Oerly … Joe
Michael Papajohn … Sheriff Flemings
Dane Rhodes … Burke
Sydney Trager … Sydney
Jackie Tuttle … Chasity
Vincent Ventresca … James
Zac Waggener … Jason
Ricky Wayne … Deputy Baldridge
Kerry Wong … Hong
Boni Yanagisawa … Yin
Aspect ratio: 1.78: 1