Oh Sy-Fy Channel. You were once known for being called "The Sci-Fi Channel", and then you changed your name because well, misspelling words is the cool thing to do or something. Well, you've also been doing original movies, or at least in some cases, presenting certain movies as original movies when they actually aren't, that 99% of the time define schlock involving goofy CGI monster(s) flicks. So, while not a minor miracle, Steven R. Monroe's 2009 flick "Wyvern" is a shockingly watchable movie.
The plot of "Wyvern" is standard Sy-Fy Channel silliness: a small town (this time in Alaska) is under attack thanks to a large monster-this time a dragon from Norse mythology called a Wyvern. That's all you need to know as far as story goes.
A part of the dreadful "Maneater" series that tends to feature in need of work actors starring in terrible creature and nature-run-amok-movies, "Wyvern" is actually a shockingly competent movie thanks to some decent direction, a few nasty moments and some better than average humor. The humor takes a decidedly Alaskan slant (obviously), and does a fine job of doing so without overstaying it's welcome. I particularly like how Monroe uses the Alaskan landscape to his advantage, making it feel almost homegrown even though it isn't. Also worthy of note is "Northern Exposure's" own Barry Corbin, who does a fine job as the Wilford Brimley like hunter.
Sadly, like many genre movies of this type, the film falters in the last third, in which our intrepid heroes must try to defeat the beast. It just doesn't feel as urgent as it should, and doesn't feel as fun as it should. Which leads the biggest liability-Nick Chinlund and Erin Karpluk as our leads. They are just too bland and uninteresting, and their performances feel uninvolved and unmotivated. Finally, the movie reveals the beast far too soon, taking away much of the impact and interest that it should have.
As it stands, you probably won't remember "Wyvern" too much a few days after watching it. Still, it's not as dull as other Sy-Fy Channel movies (and stands head and shoulders over the other "Maneater" films- though that's not saying much) and makes for okay viewing if nothing else is on.
Monroe has done other direct to DVD and TV creature flicks, including "Ogre", Left in Darkness" and "Mongolian Death Worm." He seems to finally be catching a break though, with his remake of the infamous exploitation classic "I Spit On Your Grave" getting good word of mouth and even a limited theatrical release. I guess if you pay your dues, something good might come along.