Every now and then, it feels like the bad movie gods are smiling at me. Sure, bad movies come and go, with many making me legitimately angry. I can't say that about "Hyenas." Directed by Eric Weston (who gave the world the cult fave "Evilspeak") and distributed by Lionsgate, "Hyenas" is a movie that's bad in so many ways, and terrible on so many levels, that it ends up leaving me cackling with laughter at the sheer ineptitude. It's the kind of movie that, if "Mystery Science Theater" was still around, they'd have a field day with it.
The plot goes a little something like this: Gannon (Costas Mandylor of the "Saw" franchise) is grieving the death of his family. Well, it turns out that a pack of were-hyenas (yes, really) is responsible for this, and he's gunning after them with the help of a man named "Crazy Briggs" (Meshach Taylor from "Designing Women.") Meanwhile, there seems to be rumblings in the were-hyena pack about who will be the new alpha leader, with the curvacious and often naked Wilda (Christa Campbell) taking a lot of interest in this role. Then there's a girl named Valerie (Amanda Aardsma) who Gannon saves and falls for, who-now get this-might not be all she seems (oh no!) and the whole "West Side Story" subplot revolving around a Caucasian gang and a Hispanic one. How that has any real meaning in this movie is beyond me.
Oh, where do I begin with this movie? Well, for starters, it really says a lot when Costas Mandylor of all people delivers one of the better performances in your movie. Every one else (with the exception of Taylor, who at least seems to be having fun with his role, even though his character seems to exist mostly to deliver narration by a campfire or explain everything that's going on) is bad beyond any possible belief. Campbell delivers all of her lines in this completely terrible accent, whilst everyone else is either over-emoting or unenthusiastic about the whole enterprise.
Also, remember what I said about the character of Wilda getting naked a lot? Well, she looks great, but you don't really see anything, as her breasts are usually covered by unconvincing CGI fog, and when they aren't she seems to be missing her nipples. Apparently, hyenas don't have nipples-you learn something new every day I guess. You also don't get much gore outside of some light blood splatter and a few mutilated corpses, the intended comic relief is terrible, the most basic logic is thrown out of the window (Aardsma is naked one minute, then completely clothed the next), a stereotypical Hispanic store owner who could have come from the imagination of Rush Limbaugh shows up, and so much more. Oh, and it leaves the door open for a sequel that will most likely never happen, so don't expect "Hyenas: The Last Laugh" or "Hyenas: Laugh at the Moon" any time in the future.
So yes, "Hyenas" is the pits. However, I doubt most of it will make you angry, as it's so poorly put together that it's nearly impossible to hate. I swear, it will leave you laughing like...well, you know. It's only every now and then that a bad movie like this comes around.