I’ve mentioned many times before that I am a fan of the found-footage subgenre of horror. For the most part, I enjoy how the films are put together, and I like the “personalized” element these films contain. But at the same time, I’m getting very tired of watching the same concepts over and over again. Unlike other genres, where a familiar premise can be redone in a unique way or with an extra twist, there’s not much that can be done differently with found-footage films. Because of this, these movies must truly bring something new to the table, or else they wind up as yet another throw-away rehash of what we’ve already seen a hundred times.
Such is the case with CHUPACABRA TERRITORY, a recent release from Maltauro Entertainment. This film is a perfect example of what I’m describing. It is chocked full of everything found-footage is famous for, but it offers absolutely nothing new, and many of the scenes even resemble those found in previous titles. Heck, the whole second half of the film is basically THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, except the witch has been replaced with a cryptid.
In short, I cannot recommend this film on the basis that hundreds that have come before it offer the exact same experience.
If you are not familiar with CHUPACABRA TERRITORY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Maltauro Entertainment:
Four friends hike into the Pinewood Forest to find evidence of the Chupacabra, an ancient creature believed to be responsible for the disappearance of four experienced hikers a year earlier. As they journey deeper into the forest, their innocent search uncovers more than they had ever hoped for, and with it a darkness that threatens to consume their very existence. One by one they are hunted down, their survival tested, their lives hanging in the balance of fear, friendship, disbelief, and horror.
In addition to found-footage, I’m also a HUGE fan of creature features. Thus, when I got the press release for this film, I was foaming at the mouth to give it a look. I only wish it had lived up to my expectations.
CHUPACABRA TERRITORY is shot in the obvious first person perspective, and it is shown through the different viewpoints of the four friends. This looks fine for the most part, although there are a couple of glaring WTF? Issues that ruin the concept, the primary one being the outside, third person shot of the vehicle as it drives around a corner. Uh…if this is a “found footage” documentary, where did this scene shot from atop the bluff come from? I even backtracked the film to see this shot again, just to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Guess the editor/director/continuity-checker did.
The acting is just so-so. It’s not terrible, as I’ve seen in many other films…but it’s also nothing to write home about. The cast does a decent job in their roles, although the script does not help them much. The characters themselves are boorish and just plain annoying, not to mention the fact they are the dumbest group of people on the planet; some of the decisions they make are beyond idiotic. I have to admit, I was actually pretty happy when the chupacabra started slaughtering them.
The special effects in CHUPACABRA TERRITORY are not too bad, and they are probably the sole “highlight” of the film, if that can be said. There’s some good practical gore, including a couple of animal carcasses that are way believable. Even the human remains look deliciously real; I particularly like the disemboweled man found in the forest towards the end.
As for the chupacabra itself, we never really get to see enough of it in the movie to make a decision about its appearance, although any suspense that might have existed is lost because the creature is plastered on the front cover of the DVD/Blu-ray. Personally, I HATE it when distributors do this; half the tension that is present in creature features is created when the beast is never seen until later in the film. But when the monster is put on the front cover, it really ruins the surprise.
CHUPACABRA TERRITORY is exactly like every found-footage movie you’ve either seen or heard of, and it offers nothing you haven’t seen before. As such, this is just one of a thousand of the same thing. Watch if you don’t mind seeing a repeat of everything.