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While working in a dam in Africa, the American hydraulic engineer Tom Newman brings his family to spend a couple of days in the Leopard's Rest Lodge. His fourteen year-old daughter Jessica is having friction with her stepmother Amy since she does not accept the divorce of her parents. On the next morning, Amy, Jessica and her brother David go in a game drive with a ranger while Tom goes to the dam. While driving off-road, David asks the ranger to stop the jeep to go to the "toilet", and unexpectedly they are attacked by a group of starving lions that kill and eat the ranger. Amy, Jessica and David are trapped in the jeep and stalked by the wild lions. When Tom returns to the hotel and finds that his family has not returned from the game, he asks for help to the experienced hunter and guide Crawford and together they seek Tom's family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A father (Peter Weller), his new wife (Bridget Moynahan), and his two children (Carly Schroeder and some boy) go to Africa, where he is overseeing the construction of a large dam. One day as his family goes on safari without him, they decide to go off the road and end up stranded in a field full of bloodthirsty, man-eating lions. That's a bummer. In a country without cellular reception or decent police, how can they be found?
I watched this film because I felt obligated as a horror reviewer to tackle it. Not because it was something I thought would be any good. Usually -- and this is no exception -- my instincts are correct. They found a way to take lions -- the kings of the jungle -- and make them seem like just lazy, overeating cats. I really couldn't care less that a family was surrounded by them (especially since the family does everything possible to dig themselves a deeper hole).
There isn't much good to say about this film, but at least the cast included two good choices: Wisconsin native Peter Weller (still best known for "RoboCop"), and Carly Schroeder, who I recall seeing on "Dawson's Creek" some time ago and telling my friend Kristy that this girl was going to have a bright future. I guess I made a mistake -- I never dreamed she'd end up starring in bad no-budget films.
For the first part of the film, this seems like a weaker version of "Wind Chill" or "Penny Dreadful" due to the idea that a person or small group is stuck in a car surrounded by harsh situations. Is this a new trend in horror? I hope not. At least it's short, but not short enough. And by the way, did this film need to be even 84 minutes? Couldn't it have been written as some special episode of "Hannah Montana" or something?
I didn't like the mother and step-daughter fighting, and the bratty stepdaughter archetype... boring. If I see one more film where the daughter blames her step-mom for everything wrong in the world, I'm going to scream my head off. No matter what happens in this film, the new wife is the enemy.
I really disliked the "lion vision". I have complained and complained and complained so many times in my reviews about "snake vision" and "vampire vision" and "pinata vision"... and this is no exception. I don't care that lions see things differently from humans, and I have no interest in seeing some lame effect to tell me where the lion is. Go ahead and give me "lion cam" but don't give them a special lens. That's just unoriginal and lame.
Every intelligent thing you could do, these people avoid -- they drive too fast, they run and scream from lions, yell for no reason when no one can hear them, go off the designated road to find animals... dumb dumb dumb. I don't feel bad for them in the slightest. The only part of this film that was at all worth watching was the run-in with the natives. There was a strong tension that had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see how they were going to play out a racially-charged rape scenario. And they took it where I never expected them to go with it!
Please don't rent this film, and absolutely don't buy it. I don't want these people thinking they did something right so they can make "Prey II" or some other "When Animals Attack" garbage. This film will go to the cheap bin and then never get a second printing, and I think that's the best thing one could wish upon this waste of my time.
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