"Welcome to the Jungle, we got fun and games"
When I first heard "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns and Roses, I completely fell in love with the band. But this isn't about Guns and Roses but Jonathan Hensleigh's new film. If you don't know who Hensleigh is he is a screenwriter who made his directing debut with the 2004 comic book film "The Punisher" aka one of my favorite films of all time. Hensleigh's new film came out of nowhere with Fangoria first reporting it. But how does this The Blair Witch Project meets Cannibal Holocaust mixture turn out? Read on.
First of all I despise The Blair Witch Project but completely love Cannibal Holocaust, So I was half and half on seeing this film. I was glad to see Jonathan Hensleigh's next film was something entirely different from his last and I was itching from some cannibal action. "Welcome to the Jungle" was a effective little horror film that wasn't great but served this horror fan enough dose of cannibal goodness. Unlike The Blair Witch Project I was actually interested in the characters and story. The idea of taking the true story of the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller and using it as the main set-up for the film was a great move and its what got me into the film. The characters themselves came off as realistic, which means they made me laugh and also came off as annoying, like most human beings. The interaction between the two couples had me in stitches at times and since this film is being portrayed as real their performances needed to feel real and in my opinion they nailed it. Actually there was a point where I forgot I was watching a film and became uneasy during the night scenes, even if nothing was happening! The violence isn't high but there's enough disturbing imagery in the finale to have the more sensitive movie viewers looking away in disgust. What helps the film is the beautiful landscape that quickly puts the viewer into the film. Loved it and a good location can make even the bad films at least a tad watchable. I did like the final shot and Hensleigh is a sneaky bastard for including a certain character. Not sure what he was trying to say with it all but it had me interested. Basically what I get is "He is alive and is hanging with the cannibals" Whatever you were trying to say with that final shot I really liked it Mr. Hensleigh.
Sandy Gardiner (Mandi), Callard Harris (Colby), Nick Richey (Mikey) and Veronica Sywak (Bijou) perfectly played their parts. They came off as real people. They were likable, funny and at times annoying. They remind me of people I run into everyday. Without their strong performances the movie would have quickly fall apart.
Like the actors Jonathan Hensleigh's directing perfectly fits the "realistic" look and feel of the film. Great job.
There was no actual music score so I cannot comment on it.
"Welcome of the Jungle" gives us a good amount of disturbing images. Arrows in the body, dismembered body parts and a scene that reflects an image from Cannibal Holocaust. I won't spoil it but I dug it.
Any negative comments? The movie did take a little too long to show the cannibals, even though I did feel their presence throughout the film. But the main reason I can't love the film is the documentary feel and look to it. That's one of the many reasons I despise The Blair Witch Project. But "Welcome to the Jungle" made me at least enjoy it.
"Welcome to the Jungle" was an effective little horror film. It didn't do anything original with the genre but Jonathan Hensleigh managed to make a film that should get at least one viewing. It's no Cannibal Holocaust but it sure as hell beats The Blair Witch Project to a pulp. Recommended.