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Beyond Sherwood Forest- Campy SyFy Fun

December 3, 2009

Review by Kate Blake – Admin Multipleverses and OSCK

You need to know when you are going into things what you are in for and set your expectations accordingly when it comes to a SyFy movie of the week. These films are produced on a low budget, with an eye to a quick fast paced story that is sure to include some blood, gore, some screams and some chuckles too. Beyond Sherwood Forest fit squarely into this category and delivered 90 plus minutes of entertainment that you didn’t have to think too hard about.

I enjoyed the flick- much better than the standard SyFy creature feature of the week. These are low budget mild horror flicks churned out fast to fill the weekly new movie every Saturday requirement. I thought Erica Durance was good – she was the best in the entire film at keeping her accent straight. I laughed at Robin Dunne and his accent which slipped in and out- even doing a bit of a Sean Connery at times- but whatever. Kevin Costner was even worse when he did Robin Hood and that was a big budget production and I hated Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in it. Erica played a strong and fiesty Marion but not one who was out of place. She got to use her stick fighting skills too- has she been working out with Cassidy Freeman on the set of Smallville? Cassidy’s character Tess loves to throw down with sticks- was cool to see Erica can do so too.

I liked the monster girl Alina. The actress who played her- Katharine Isabelle was on Supernatural in season 2 – she played Ava- the psychic who figured out how to control demons using her mind. She also has the distinction of having shared screen time with John Schneider in the SyFy flick Ogre. Another Saturday night creature feature. Actually I thought the flying monster in BSF was better than the big titular beastie in Ogre- which actually had a story very similar to the big budget flick by M Night Shyamalan “The Village” with a bunch of people living like 1800s era settlers stuck away in the woods untouched by modern life- and imprisoned by a creepy beast.

Creepy beasts are at the center of every SyFy thriller- except for the disaster movies. Those have mother nature at the heart of the danger. In Beyond Sherwood Forest the monster is a mystical creature from another dimension- a land beyond a portal that exists in the woods of Sherwood Forest. This dark land is home to some cold fish type guys who were peeved that little Alina’s mother left their world and went out to live in the other world- and came back pregnant. When Alina grows up she too ventures forth and learns she is cursed to be a monster by day and herself only at night. She is captured in the film and held hostage by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham played by Julian Sands. The Sheriff uses her to terrorize his people and get them to pay their taxes in a political plot for power. This of course in the end backfires and all kinds of heroics ensue.

Robin and his trusty male cohorts venture to the scary dark land to find out how to stop the beast and meet up with the magic men. Their leader Sylvan is played by Erica Durance’s real life husband David Palffy. Palffy has an affinity for playing bad guys- he was the evil Anubis on Stargate SG-1 afterall. Sylvan sets the heroes on a quest to gather a special plant which will strip Alina of her immortality and allow her to be killed. Her people don’t want her back and she is a danger to the human world. Cold cold fish. People wonder why folks leave their families and homes and never go back?

In the end the monster makes a sacrifice and Robin takes down his enemy and all is well that ends well with the creepy Prince John keeping his throne and Robin and Marion being left alone in the lands of Sherwood Forest to await the return of her cousin King Richard to England. If Prince John seemed familiar- he is too. David Richmond- Peck plays the pivotal figure in the rebel alliance on Earth in V as Georgie Sutton. His resume also includes work behind the camera- he directed three episodes of Smallville- Dichotic, Fanatic and Action.

The film was filled with familiar faces to sci-fi fans. Robert Lawrenson who played Robin’s father was on the snoozy Smallville episode Abyss as a neurologist – he has most recently been playing a very sneaky guy on Sanctuary who has an eye on the top job running the Sanctuary network. Bill Dow known to Stargate fans as Dr. Bill Lee played this version of Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck. Cainen Wiebe who played the speechless but not helpless young boy Gareth has a knack for playing creepy kids. He was the mutant kid Alexei in the Sanctuary premiere episodes and worked closely with Robin Dunne. The actress who played the young version of Maid Marion Anna Louise Sargeant played a lab tech in the Smallville episode Lara. Richard de Klerk who was the movie’s Will Scarlett played the ill fated Scott Carey in the same Supernatural episode Hunted which introduced Ava. He was the guy who fried his neighbor’s cat.

These Canadian productions all have a certain sameness to them. Grey skies, lots of trees and rain. Lots of rain. This lends a certain drearyness that is fitting for a horror film set in the dark ages. Personally I found the film to be entertaining. Was it a great work of cinematic wonder? No. Was it a fun and cheesy flick that provided some smiles along with the cringes? Yes. Was it boring? No! And this is a good thing. I really thought that the SyFy flick Megafault with Justin Hartley was pretty much awful and boring. Beyond Sherwood had a story and moved forward without taking any extraneous sidesteps or letting itself get bogged down by being overly sentimental. My only complaint was there was not enough gore. A few more bodies being hauled away in chunks would have helped the horror factor. And Robin could have laid a big smooch on Maid Marion before the end of the film. I know her fans would have been happy with a little bodice ripping action – or at least disheveling of it to provide a good view of her ample assets. We did get a nice shot of Robin’s chest- thank you director Peter DeLuise!

The movie will be released on Feb. 23, 2010 on DVD- film will include the full theatrical trailer and special behind the scenes featurette.
Pre-order on Amazon at the link below

Beyond Sherwood Forest


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