“The Descent” + A Chupacabra = “Indigenous”

Posted: March 7, 2016 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

indigenous

In the pseudo-field of cryptozoology, the chupacabra is a creature that’s been moving up the “popularity” ranks in recent years thanks to radio shows like Coast To Coast and, of course, the internet, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before it joined fellow probably- (or should that be possibly-?) mythical monsters like Bigfoot and Nessie on the movie screen. It’s just too bad for the bloodthirsty critter that its cinematic debut comes by way of a thoroughly lackluster un-credited remake.

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Okay, that might be a little unfair since director Alastair Ott’s 2014 indie horror Indigenous isn’t exactly a remake, per se, but it borrows so many elements from Neil Marshall’s The Descent — right down to aping its famous “night-vision” scene — that it may as well be. As evidence for the prosecution I offer the fact that this film centers on five immediately unlikable “adventure tourists” from the US (universally portrayed with zero distinction by Zachary Soetenga, Lindsey McKeon, Sofia Pernas, Pierson Fode, and Jamie Anderson) who head down to Panama for a booze-soaked good time and decide to take in the sights at a locally-renowned waterfall that is either the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen, or a portal into a world of mystery and danger best avoided — depending on who you ask, of course. I don’t know about you, but if even a few of “the natives” suggest to me that a legendary carnivorous  creature lives at a certain landmark, said landmark immediately goes on my “don’t bother to visit” list — but maybe I’m just a chickenshit like that.

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Anyway, they go — we wouldn’t have much of a movie otherwise (come to think of it, we still don’t) — and, sure, enough, “all the stories are true!” and the chupacabra starts picking ’em off, one by one, in increasingly gory fashion. To Ott and his effects crew’s credit, their practical-effects monster is very well-realized and the blood, guts, and viscera flow fairly freely and graphically. These entitled fucking twenty-somethings can’t get killed off fast enough, though, and when you’re rooting for the big, bad, hairy beastie before he’s even showed up, well — you might just have a problem on your hands.

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“Found footage”-style filming creeps into the proceedings from time to time, as you’d expect, but in this case it’s the “as you’d expect” part of that equation, rather than the “found footage” part, that represents the problem — Indigenous (which was recently added to the instant streaming queue on Netflix but is, I’m sure, also available on Blu-ray and DVD) is nothing if not entirely predictable and, frankly, uninspired. It’s such a by-the-numbers affair, in fact, that you pretty much know exactly what’s going to happen in each and every moment of each and every scene. The story “beats” feel like they were churned out onto paper by a computerized screenwriting program, the direction is equally mechanical, and I’ve already bitched about the flat, one-note performances, so there’s no need to go down that road again. I’m very sorry, Mr. Chupacabra — you deserved much better than this.

Comments
  1. Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

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