Tuesday, October 12, 2021

#2,635. Strays (1991)


Personally, I wouldn’t have ranked house cats high on the list of effective movie monsters, but the 1991 made-for-TV film Strays has convinced me to reconsider.

Divorce lawyer Paul Jarrett (Timothy Busfield) and his wife Lindsey (Kathleen Quinlan) have just moved to a big house in the suburbs. Unfortunately, they aren’t alone; dozens of cats also consider the Jarrett’s spacious new abode their home, and led by a feral male, these strays are willing to fight - and kill - to protect what’s theirs.

Busfield and Quinlan are likable as the happy couple at the center of this nightmare, and Claudia Christian is also good as Lindsey’s flirty sister, Claire. And while most of the cats in Strays look normal enough, the feral male is a nasty little prick (a la Church, post-burial, in 1989’s Pet Sematary).

The cat attacks themselves are hit and miss; the first victim (played by Gary McGurk) worked for the phone company, and the sight of a cat leaping for his throat actually made me laugh (mostly because the effect was…, well, not effective). Later in the movie, though, when Lindsey and the couple’s young daughter Tessa (portrayed by twins Heather and Jessica Lilly) find themselves surrounded, I was on the edge of my seat.

Strays may not be the most terrifying cat-themed movie ever made (my vote goes to George Romero’s Cat from Hell segment in 1990’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie), but it’s worth a watch nonetheless.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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