MAY 12, 2010
DTV junkies even more diligent than myself are probably quite familiar with the Maneater series, but my exposure has been sadly limited, due to the fact that my Blockbuster doesn’t stock them and for the most part they are the type of things I wouldn’t go out of my way to find. I own one, but that’s only because a buddy of mine wrote it (and since it’s 3 hours long, I still haven’t found time to watch it). And I saw Sea Beast, which was a notch or two above this sort of thing. But I fear more of them are like Blood Monkey (or Bloodmonkey according to the IMDb), in that they suck.
I don’t really ask for much from anything that would air as the Saturday night movie on the Sci-Fi channel, but Blood Monkey can’t even deliver that. Pretty much every kill in the movie is off-screen, something they probably think is made up for with the fact that every character dies (spoiler). But no, because I didn’t like any of the characters, so the fact that they all died doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t die instantly and just let me enjoy the scenery for the remaining 85 minutes.
And off-screen or not, there is no excuse for the fact that the film’s requisite human villain is killed not by Blood Monkey himself, but by a trap that Blood Monkey apparently built himself. It’s one of those tripwire “giant thing with spears sticking out of it swings down and impales the guy” deals, and since this is a low budget movie made by folks who don’t really give a shit, the spears sticking out of the guy’s torso move independently of the thing they are supposed to be attached to. So instead of having the monster in your monster movie kill the guy the audience hates, you instead ask the audience to believe that the monster would set up traps, and to be OK with one of them killing the guy, poorly. OK.
Oh, and the guy is none other than Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, continuing his 25 year decline since Amadeus. Seriously, what the hell, man? It’s one thing to take on hammy roles in B-movie junk like Surviving the Game, because at least there you’re getting to chew the scenery with other great actors. But what could possibly be the reason for taking on this role? He’s at the point in his career where he should be living more than comfortably off of residuals, and unlike guys like Lance Henriksen (who stars in at least one of the other Maneater films), he doesn’t have any alimony checks to pay, as he’s been married to the same woman for nearly 50 years (grats to him!). I just don’t get it.
Maybe he just wanted the free trip to Thailand. The best thing I can say about the movie is that it’s at least in a different locale than I’m used to - right off the bat I knew we weren’t in the usual Bulgarian or Canadian forests. I mean, yeah, it’s just trees, but they are DIFFERENT trees, and it’s the most original thing about the movie. Well, second most original thing - there’s a pretty hilarious bit where Blood Monkey urinates all over their tent. All monster movies should have urination scenes, in my opinion.
And while it’s not exactly a GOOD idea, it’s at least a SURPRISING one that the end of the movie rips off Blair Witch Project. For the whole movie, one of our characters has been filming for a documentary, and thankfully we are spared too many “POV” shots until the final few minutes, where they are using the nightvision mode to see in the dark cave. Suddenly, Blood Monkey (off-screen, of course) kills our two would-be survivors, as the camera drops to the ground. Then we FINALLY get a clear shot of Blood Monkey (raise your hand if you’re shocked to discover he’s a terrible CGI creation - and they made him more like a gorilla, to boot) and the movie ends. I mean, every minute of the movie is ripped off from others (I’m sure even the urine one came from another movie), but they are the ones you’d expect - Congo, Predator, etc. Blair Witch Project? Not so much. Way to steal outside the box, folks!
But the one movie they should have ripped off is The Descent, because they obviously had caves and they obviously DIDN’T have the means to have a good monkey/ape. Why not have all of our dumbass kids get trapped in the cave and simply use the claustrophobia/limited supplies stuff to provide the tension, added to the fear of Blood Monkey being down there with them. Instead we just get a bunch of scenes of Abraham acting like a total jerk with our moron heroes following him anyway, or half-baked romance/comic relief interplay between the students.
Since I watched on Netflix, I don’t know if there were any extra features. I wouldn’t care if there was. The worst thing one of these movies can be is boring, and that’s the perfect word to describe this one. Christ, the title has more action.
What say you?