“Night of the Wild” is a lot like those terrible seventies nature run amok movies. It’s badly directed, horribly edited, has terrible continuity issues, and garners some inadvertent camp. All that’s missing is an obligatory nude scene. “Night of the Wild” is brimming with potential, beginning with a premise that could have amounted to a great movie. A mysterious green meteor crash lands on a small farm town spreading its meteorites. Suddenly the local animal population begin turning on their masters, becoming violent murderous monsters. Without explanation or warning, now the humans must fight to survive and figure out a way to make it out of their town. “Night of the Wild” pretty much dips in quality after the first ten minutes, creating a story that the budget and resources couldn’t possibly afford.
It’s explained that the meteor is making all the wildlife turn on their masters. There’s even a scene where a clowder of cats lurk in a tree about to pounce on an unsuspecting little girl. But that’s as far as the movie goes. Mainly the movie focuses on the dog population becoming murderous and violent. I guess they couldn’t hire cat trainers. There’s even the hint of cows turning on their owners, but I doubt watching cows trample their owners would be much fun. When we actually do see the dogs attack, most of the editing is so bad, you’ll spend your time trying to pretend you don’t notice the glaring errors in animal choreography. In one scene, Rob Morrow is being attacked by dogs, and as the director pans away, it’s painfully clear Morrow is just holding a dog with both hands faking an attack.
Another scene involves heroine Tristan Mays battling a dog with a bat that she’s obviously just pretending to hit. I’m by no means implying there should have been actual animal cruelty, but the editing could have been so much tighter to allow a stronger suspension of disbelief. The continuity suffers from the bad editing as well, especially in the final scene where our heroes are blood soaked and disheveled, emerge from their getaway plane clean and fully made up, and then as we cut to the final scene, are once again blood soaked and wounded. Mistakes like these are just laughable, and distract from what could have been just a silly nature run amok movie at best.
Much of the cast are wasted, including Rob Morrow, who has nothing to do in the film until the climax. Tristin Mays comes out well though, playing heroic Rosalyn, a young girl desperately trying to save her family, while sticking close to her loyal old dog who inexplicably doesn’t turn on her. I also appreciate that the movie doesn’t try to figure out where the meteors came from, or why they’re controlling animals. All we have to know is that meteors crashed, and dogs are now going bat shit insane. Sadly, those minor pros don’t salvage what is a forgettable, silly, and badly composed horror film. With tighter editing and direction, “Night of the Wild” may have succeeded as a goofy B grade seventies throwback.