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Damned River (1989)

A group hires a guide to take them whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River in Africa, but what they don't know is that the guide is actually a ....



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Complete credited cast:
John Terlesky ...
Marc Poppel ...
Bradford Bancroft ...
Louis van Niekerk ...
Von Hoenigen
Leslie Mongezi ...
Moses Ncube ...
Young Boy
Mtcheso Ncube ...
Maita Sibanda ...
Todd Brownell ...
Von Hoenigen's Man
Joe Siabe ...
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Tetrex Tshuma ...
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A group hires a guide to take them whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River in Africa, but what they don't know is that the guide is actually a ....

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A dream vacation... Becomes a grim Nightmare.


Action | Adventure


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ameaça na Selva  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


The Nyami Nyami, otherwise known as the Zambezi River God or Zambezi Snake spirit, is one of the most important gods of the Tonga people. Nyami Nyami is believed to protect the Tonga people and give them sustenance in difficult times. The River God is usually portrayed as male. This myth sets the scene for the beginning of the movie, and is still a popular myth in Zimbabwe - with a statue of Nyami Nyami overlooking the wall at Kariba Dam. See more »


References The Naked Prey (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

Mildly Entertaining little diversion
9 April 2011 | by (north dakota) – See all my reviews

Four American silver-spoon fed would-be adventurers travel to Zimbabwe for their vacation with the desire to go river rafting. They hire Stephen Shellen to lead them down the river. Before they embark on their journey, mysterious cads show up and disagree with Shellen while Shellen's sidekick opts to leave the expedition when said cads begin grilling. However, the four sharp Americans can't see this as an alarm so they head down the river with Shellen as their only guide.

Shellen is quick to display his short temper as the fun-guy keeps goofing off which perturbs Stephen. Shellen accosts the loser throughout the film but his buddies are too spineless to stand up to their short-tempered guide. Their meek ways finally become understandable when Shellen sneaks off and murders the aforementioned cad and then tosses his severed head toward the four vacationers. This scene is the highlight of the film. The four vacationers then spend the remainder of the film trying to keep the psycho from further carnage, but with the tasty Lisa Aliff around, Shellen's psycho has a morsel that has captured his twitchy eye.

STORY: $$ (This film came well before the A-list "River Wild" and essentially has the same plot. But the script here doesn't effectively build any tension since Shellen easily subdues the minor little uprising the vacationers try. Shellen is almost unreasonably one-jump ahead of the foursome).

ACTING: $$ (Nothing of real note here. Stephen Shellen (The Stepfather) is okay in the main role as a psycho but he doesn't effectively go "over-the-top" in his crazed role--he's more laughable than convincing at times. John Terlesky (Chopping Mall) plays the lead rafter and Lisa Aliff's boyfriend, but he's just too much the coward to, like his two friends, to pull for. That being said, all you have left to root for is Lisa Aliff (Playroom) as the only dame on the vacation. There is chemistry between her and Shellen at first but when he ogles her bathing in the river, she loses interest. Lisa gives the best performance here but the screenwriters didn't help her any. After she is sexually assaulted by Shellen, her character is essentially a non-entity until the last minute of the film).

NUDITY: $$ (Lisa Aliff has a few brief nude scenes but they are of the blink-and-you-missed-it variety. She changes in her tent and bathes in the river, with a shirt on, but there is still plenty of titillation for the skin-crowd. Miss Aliff, a former Miss America contestant, is an extraordinary beauty with the loveliest set of come-hither eyes ever put on a woman).

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