If your first thought on learning there’s a movie called Llamageddon is “I must see this movie,” you are within in the target market for this film. Otherwise, approach this movie with trepidation. The website announces its official rejections from Sundance, Cannes, and AFI, which should tell you a bit about what they’re going for.
SYFY and The Asylum often release movies that are bad on purpose. They have names that describe what’s in the tin — Sharknado, Ape Vs. Monster, Airliner Sky Battle, Ice Spiders. They feature lazy production, wandering scripts and a starring cast on the downward slope of their careers. These movies are not my cup of tea. Everyone knows it’s a cheap and awful movie and they are showing up for the paycheck.
Llamageddon belongs in a somewhat different class. It reminds me more of films like Manos: The Hands of Fate, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, The Room, or The Final Sacrifice. These movies come by their flaws honestly, with low budgets and outsider crews enthusiastic about their ability to make a movie on their own terms. Then missing the mark.
Llamageddon, though, knows it’s pulling your leg. It just does so with more authenticity, better attention to the craft, and far fewer resources. The editing on this 69-minute feature is tight. Where other movies might spend some time pointing and laughing at itself, Dewin doesn’t seem to mind too much if the jokes pass unnoticed. For example, it slipped past me that Dan changes shirts in every scene — a feat that probably I suspect required an attentive continuity director. It required a wardrobe, no doubt.
And while there’s some terrible CGI and the movie veers into 2000-era Flash animation when the needs of the story outstrip the budget, there are also some glorious practical effects that feel like 80s direct-to-video nonsense. It’s also one of the few moments in the movie where I thought “boy, they are milking this scene,” but it’s hard to blame them.
Roger Ebert once said that “good” for a movie was whether it achieved what it set out to do, and by those standards, I think Llamageddon is nigh on perfect. It seems like it was a blast to film. Editor Chet Steadman did a superhuman job keeping the pacing on track with this film and not lingering too long on the gags.