Extinction Jurassic Predators (2014)
Maybe I should just keep this short and simple: if you want evidence to provide to filmmakers to convince them that the Found Footage genre is as dried up as a dead hooker in the desert, show them this. EXTINCTION: JURASSIC PREDATOR was originally called just EXTINCTION, which is also the name of a zombie movie starring the guy from LOST. I haven’t watched that other one yet, but I’m sure it’s better than this. Of course, now they’re going for the demographic of inattentive parents looking to buy JURASSIC WORLD for their screaming little brat to shut them up.
To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, I found this movie to be both good and original, but the parts that were good were not original, and the parts that were original were not good. It opens with a title stating that “this footage was assembled from the time codes of video found during an expedition to the Amazon yadda yadda yadda” yeah we get it, the people who shot this have never been found. Wish I was one of them.
Then we get the cameraman, our supposed Everyman hero James (Daniel Caren) meeting up with TV presenter Michelle (Sarah Mac) on their way to the airport to go to the Amazon to shoot some wildlife footage for what I’m assuming is a documentary. Which, judging from the fact that there’s just two of them and they only have backpacks, means it must be the cheapest possible doc you could imagine.
Literally within seconds, James establishes himself as the most obnoxious character on film since Jar Jar Binks, about as adept with dealing with other people as he is handling a camera. Honestly, he acts like it’s his first trip out of Special School than as some sort of professional, shooting inappropriate shots, making constant comments, jokes and insults.
They reach another group venturing into the deepest heart of the Amazon jungle. They, too, seem more equipped for a weekend camping out than a weeks-long trek into the middle of nowhere: a half-dozen of them wearing sleeveless vests in a malaria-infested rain forest, no one with any GPS or satellite phones, no one even breaking into a sweat. Remember PREDATOR? Where a mile’s journey on foot would take you a day or more? This was more like a family outing.
The other group, which I think is out there for environmental reasons, encounters an Evil Corporate Fella in the jungle, and tries to detain him for deforestation (I didn’t know environmentalists had that power now; thanks, Obama) but he leaves. Soon after, their guides leave them (I don’t blame them), but the Big White Hunters of the group are determined to go further inland.
James ups his Obnoxious Quotient by gallomping about like a kid on a field trip, displaying massive amounts of ignorance, talking loudly and frequently about his own ideas on cryptozoology to professional scientists who remain mature enough not to tell him to fuck off, something I would have done from the first scene).
At night, they hear something outside their tents, and at one point, see something nudging down against the canvas. Is it the snout of a dinosaur? Or someone’s butt? I’m hoping it’s a dinosaur. Should they discuss setting up cameras at night to try and find out what it was? No, since it looks like this crew came to the Amazon for weeks or months with just one camcorder.
I suppose if you needed a film that comprehensively lists all the things clichéd with the genre, EXTINCTION is the one for you: contrived explanations about why they keep shooting video when their lives are in danger, close up shots of people reacting to noises, etc. It grew interminable at the 45 minute mark, and it’s got another fucking hour to go! If the movie had spent its time building up sympathy with interesting, likeable characters, it might have passed more smoothly and easily. Director Adam Spinks could have chopped this in half and made a better movie. Possibly.
Or possibly not, since he seemed intent on making The Most Annoying Character the focus. I’m betting that the director and the chimps posing as writers thought James was meant to be the likeable goofball that we, the audience, could relate to, and would laugh with. Except that the script and the acting makes certain that all we’re feeling is annoyance. If he had been some guy down the pub who had a camera shoved in his hand, you might excuse him, but he’s meant to be a professional, but ends up seeming less realistic than if played by one of the Minions.
I turned it off at the hour mark because I had something better to do. And after cleaning out the cat litter box, I found that, like this doomed crew, I could not return. I saw a bit of a dinosaur before I stopped watching, and I can easily guess how it turns out: they’ll be picked off one by one, someone will be injured, someone else will go off to get help and never be seen again, we’ll be stuck with Obnoxious Guy before he too finally dies, and we get a brief glimpse of the dinosaurs; I doubt if Spinks is gonna pull a miracle out of his ass and present us with something watchable. He’s not that good. At least Asylum and the SyFy Channel know to throw in monsters from the start.
The trailer is below. The film is available throughout. Then again, so’s herpes, and I wouldn’t recommend you catch that either.
Director: Adam Spinks
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars
Gore: 1 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Deggsy.A Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus