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Reginald Le Borg
Lon Chaney Jr.,
Rock Dean and Dr. Andrea Romar travel up the Amazon River to find out why the plantation workers have left their work in panic, allegedly because of attacks from Curucu, a monster who is said to live up the river where no white man has ever been before... Written by
Hoping to quell the fears of superstitious natives, a rancher and a doctor head into the Amazon jungle to find a supposedly awakened demon but learn of a dangerous native tribe lurking in the area and must stop it from spreading.
Overall this was a pretty disappointing and thoroughly disappointing effort. What really tends to hold this one down is the fact that there's not a whole lot of time here spent among the confines of the genre, tending to focus far more frequently on the Adventure drama aspects of the story. The majority of the film is simply watching the two and their guide trek through the jungle and commenting on the different animals present in the area which is then shown in stock-footage inserts of the specific species told they're observing only to then be treated to widely different levels of film-stock quality to showcase that. The piranha attack is the most egregious, showing badly-framed underwater footage in black-and-white no less despite the rest of the film being in color from an angle that has nothing to do with what they pointed to but is just clumsily thrown in since it's a piranha attack footage, while shots of the animals brawling and fighting each other tends to dominate the main parts of the film that it's entirely possible to forget there's a creature at the center of the film. That aspect doesn't help the film any further as there's only two attacks by the creature in the entire film and is then twisted around into another storyline thread which is dropped off the film quite easily and early which is quite troubling and again makes it hard to believe this was supposed to be a horror effort all along. These here make this one quite hard to get into as a horror film, despite having a fairly decent amount of stuff about it. Despite only being seen twice, each of the attacks aren't all that bad and manage to get some mild suspense from them as the creature stalking them in the jungle before jumping out to launch the surprise attack makes for a few decent times here. Likewise, the film also manages to get some decent mileage out of the fantastic brawl at the end as the two rival Indian tribes get into action and begin fighting each other in a fairly large-scale scene, from the fire-laced huts and the hand-to-hand brawling and the long-range battles with the spears and arrows coming into play to make a fine action scene that's quite exciting. Even still, that also plays more into it's Adventure setting that it tends to wash away the positives here and aligns this more as a flaw here.
Today's Rating/PG: Violence.
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