Kaw (2007) poster

Kaw (2007)


Canada. 2007.


Director/Visual Effects Supervisor – Sheldon Wilson, Screenplay – Benjamin Sztajnkrycer, Story – Tom Berry & Jiles Fitzgerald, Producers – Stefan Wodoslawsky & Gordon Yang, Photography – John Tarver, Music – Steve London, Digital Visual Effects – D.A.M.M!fx (Supervisor – Jean Aubert), Special Effects Supervisor – John LaForet, Production Design – Brian Rice. Production Company – Reel One Entertainment/The Movie Network/Movie Central.


Sean Patrick Flanery (Sheriff Wayne Haybourne), Stephen McHattie (Clyde McKenzie), Kristin Booth (Cynthia Haybourne), Rod Taylor (Doc Walter Wallace), Vladimir Bondarenko (Jacob), Michelle Duquet (Betty), Ashley Newbrough (Doris), John Ralston (Oskar), Megan Park (Gretchen), Gray Powell (Stan), Amanda Brugel (Emma), Emma Knight (Connie), Wendy Lyon (Luanne)


Small town sheriff Wayne Haybourne is due to retire when he is asked to investigate a series of incidents around town. Everywhere he looks, treacheries of ravens are turning on people and attacking. As the raven attacks grow, the townspeople are forced into a siege.

Kaw was one of the numerous low-budget creature features made for the cable market during the 2000s, along with assorted other monster movies, killer sharks films and giant mutated animals films. Kaw falls into a sub-variant of these dealing with regular animals on the attack – I have an essay on these here with Animals Attack Films.

Kaw takes up the theme of an attack by killer ravens, which must be a first for genre cinema. To this extent, the film draws on the basics laid down by the original killer birds film Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), which was the progenitor of the Animals Attack film. The production even recruits the male lead from The Birds – a 77-year old Rod Taylor who plays the town’s doctor. (This would be Taylor’s his second-to-last film, the last being as Winston Churchill in Inglourious Basterds (2009), before his death in 2015).

The plot rehashes the basics of The Birds – the same plot of a town at siege from bird attacks – and feeds it through the modern B monster movie formula. Unlike The Birds, which left explanation for the birds’ behaviour a blank question mark, we do get the benefit of an explanation here – the birds have been feeding on the corpses of animals infected with Mad Cow Disease.

Sean Patrick Flanery and killer ravens in Kaw (2007)
Sean Patrick Flanery and killer ravens

Though he has remained consistently in the arena of the B-budget Syfy Channel movie, Sheldon Wilson has emerged as a better director than his oeuvre would indicate at face value. The plot of the film is formulaic fodder but Wilson builds the bird attacks on the town and the bus broken down on a backroad up with undeniable tension. The proceedings emerge into quite a reasonable siege climax. Even the usual cut-price visual effects representing the birds that we are used to getting in these films cable-made films come out not too badly. This is better than the throwaway B movie it seems to be at the outset.

Sheldon Wilson first appeared with the low-budget horror film Shallow Ground (2004) and has since churned out a string of genre films that have mostly found play on cable tv with the likes of Carny (2009), Screamers: The Hunting (2009), Mothman (2010), Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010), Killer Mountain (2011), Snowmageddon (2011), Cold Spring (2013), Scarecrow (2013), The Hollow (2015), Shark Killer (2015), The Unspoken (2015), The Night Before Halloween (2016), Stickman (2017) and Dead in the Water (2018).

Trailer here

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