If you thought you recognized that gruesome little box to the right when it hit the video stores, there’s a good reason—seems that Ogre was actually part of the Sci-Fi Channel line up, or as I like to call them, Sci Fi Channel Not So Original Pictures. Let’s be honest—pretty much every piece of drivel Sci Fi’s been pumping out for years has been one low-rent, low budget craptacular after another. So will the trend continue with Ogre? Well, let’s take a look.
There’s this tiny village in Pennsylvania, Ellensford by name, that’s been having some problems with what looks like smallpox or possibly some variant of the Black Plague. They never specifically say nor do they ever really NEED to. Anyway, after losing a few dozen villagers in a series of mass graves, the town—or what’s left of it—gets together and says, enough already. Thus, they put a magician in charge, who creates the answer to their problems. He can’t actually get rid of the plague, but what he can do is channel it into physical form. That physical form we mention so blithely is the Ogre, a monster direct from hell itself. The monster requires a terrible price—one person a year, so it can feed. This probably didn’t look half bad to the townsfolk; where they were shoveling folks into the ground ten at a time, now they’re just chaining one guy a year to a pole and waiting for him to get eaten by some gigantic blubbery thing. Anyway, fast forward a couple hundred years and, boom, random kids go forth to look for the “lost town” that’s not so lost after all…and run afoul of the Ogre.
I have to admit that I’ve seen worse out of the Sci-Fi Channel. This is actually not that poorly put together, in all honesty. The plotline is reasonably well done—just one big monster running amok in an environment remarkably similar to M. Night Shyamalan misery detail The Village. And the effects, heavily dependent on CG, are actually almost believable. Sure, you can tell that ogre’s just a giant computer construct, but if you look at it more as an artist’s rendition of what an ogre attack on a nineteenth-century village would look like, well, it’s a lot more acceptable.
There’s plenty wrong with it too, like some really, REALLY lousy acting. There will be everything from screeching to histrionics to just about anything else you can think of that might fit in the category of truly all around lousy acting. It’s downright distressing to see how rapidly, and seemingly without provocation, the actors will whipsaw from hysterics to sarcasm and back again. It’s almost painful to watch these people portray actual human beings. There are also some unfortunate plot holes—like toward the end, just ask yourself how the guy managed to fire, cock, and fire a twelve-gauge pump action with ONE HAND. Not exactly the simplest thing to do—in fact, downright unlikely if you’ve actually used a twelve-gauge pump before.
Aside from these fairly large problems, I can still recommend Ogre to the horror buffs in the crowd, especially those old-school purists spoiling for an old-fashioned monster movie. Though I’ll never suggest buying this, it should make a decent one-time rental, if nothing else.