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"Welcome to the Jungle" has nothing to do with the Guns N' Roses song
of the same name, but it owes a lot to "The Blair Witch Project." Too
bad it has none of the latter's suspense or creativity.
The plot, such as it is, involves two young couples armed with video cameras who set off into the New Guinea jungle to find Michael Rockefeller, heir to the wealthy family, who disappeared on an expedition there in 1961. Reports are that Rockefeller encountered cannibals, and there's no need to post a spoiler here because the developments of this film are pretty obvious from the start. Unfortunately, before those developments actually develop, we are subject to an hour of improvised whining while the four adventurers wander the jungle, oblivious to the danger that the viewer knows awaits them.
The acting is average, the dialogue is banal, and the hand-held camera is a chore to endure. The film lacks scenes of torture all of it happens off-camera, ironically but the images of carnage are as gratuitous as you'd expect from Dimension Extreme. It's hard to feel any sympathy for these self-involved tourists once they've made it clear they'd never be welcome at our dinner table.
The only thing "Welcome to the Jungle" has going for it is some impressive photography. Unfortunately, the dessert doesn't justify the main course.
Okay, I rented this because I got my crush on all the 80's cannibal and
zombie flicks. It's always nice to have some movie to switch off your
brain and enjoy people being eaten, may the acting be bad and the plot
So, what have we got? Two hot chicks? Check. The crazy dude? Check. The cool dude? Check. Deserted Island? Check. Stupid plot? Check. Stupid dialogs? Check. Cool shots of the landscape? Check. A very gory scene right at the beginning? Well... No. Random gratuitous breast shots? No. Overuse of gore? No.
What the hell is this supposed to be? A few skulls placed on rocks and some people with white paint in the face don't make no cannibal movie. There's no suspense, no gore, no humor, no nudity, and no plot whatsoever. And it doesn't have a message in some political way or something like that. It's a movie who just doesn't get going, and once it does, it's over.
The acting is pretty decent, and the camera work is very nice at times. But that's about it. If you wanna see a REAL cannibal movie, go get "Cannibal Holocaust" or one of the early 80s movies the Italians did. They are indeed BAD, but, hey... At least they're gory!
Welcome To The Jungle is a taut, well made, well acted shock
'mockumentary' that might have been considered a groundbreaking classic
of exploitation cinema, if it hadn't been for the fact that not one
second of it is in any way original. The pace and directorial style is
stolen from The Blair Witch Project, whilst the nihilistic plot and
certain visuals are taken from the film that inspired Blair Witch,
Ruggero Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust. It is hard to admire
something that so shamelessly rips off other genre classics, no matter
how well put together it is.
Writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh's extremely derivative plot sees two couples (a pair of hedonists, and their more sensible friends) travel to a cannibal infested jungle to try and find the heir to the Rockefeller fortune, who went missing in the area over 40 years earlier. As the going gets tough, tempers become frayed and arguments inevitably break out. But things really go tits up when one of the group angers the locals by pilfering a skull from a native burial site. The extremely miffed gut-munchers stalk the amateur adventurers and teach them not to go messing with their ancestors' remains.
What follows is undeniably tense, occasionally quite nasty, and technically well handled by cast and crew, but I fail to see how the makers of Welcome To The Jungle expected to present this film without criticism. Perhaps, if it had been as unrelentingly harrowing as Cannibal Holocaust (is that even possible?), fans of extreme horror would have forgiven the plagiarism and admired the film's willingness to shock and disgust. But instead, even the nastiest moment in Hensleigh's film, in which one of the victims is shown impaled on a bamboo pole, is a weak copy of a much more disturbing image in Deodato's movie.
Horror fans who have yet to experience the 'delights' of Cannibal Holocaust or the effectively creepy atmosphere of Blair Witch will probably find much to enjoy about Welcome to the Jungle. However, the rest of us will be annoyed by the bare-faced cheek of its makers. To give it a rating any higher than 5/10 just seems wrong.
It's kind of ironic, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one to think
this, that the horror subgenre that arguably paved the way for the
"found footage" selling point has led, almost 30 years later, to a
movie that ends up being a pale, disappointing imitation of it's
cinematic grandfather (Cannibal Holocaust, which is the first feature
to have created this "factual" background for it's footage, to my
Two couples go on a trip into dangerous jungle terrain to find Michael Rockefeller, the heir to the Rockefeller fortune who disappeared way back in the 60s and has been the subject of urban legend and sporadic, alleged sightings ever since. Things don't go all that well and if the interlopers upset the locals too much then they may just end up as the very special guests at some tribal dinner.
I don't know where to begin with my comments on Welcome To The Jungle. Writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh sets up a premise that's not too bad but then seems to be determined to spend the rest of the movie undermining his efforts. The main actors (Sandy Gardiner, Callard Harris, Veronica Sywak and Nick Richey) are all good enough and put in believable performances but their biggest problem is that they end up just being so bloody annoying for the entire middle section of the movie. So annoying that you want harm to befall them all.
I know it may sound shallow but it's a legitimate complaint when dealing with a movie of this type: there's just not enough of the gratuitous goods that would compensate for the other failings (with the characterisation, script, etc). Yes, I'm moaning about a lack of T&A and a lack of nasty gore. You may roll your eyes and tut in disgust but a film of this type should either impress with some completely new take on the material or just go all out to provide the exploitation goods. Sadly, this does neither.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The fun part is to try and organize the rips. First we've got a film
ripping "Cannibal Holocaust" that was then ripped, if we're
cinematically honest, by "Blair Witch" (which resourced "Cannibal
Holocaust) which "Welcome to the Jungle" rips again ... and leaves us
with this total mess.
There is no redeemable reason to even attempt a remake of "Cannibal Holocaust" but if you were going to, you would up the stakes, not diminish them. If you are ripping "Blair", again, you would up stakes, not shrink away.
How in the world someone could get this project off the ground, light it up and get money behind it is scary.
This film, despite its legacy and origins, is a dead solid perfect example of how it has all gone wrong. If you're going to jump on a classic, remember you have to ... you know what? You're better off not trying that unless you're really gifted. These guys, whoever they were, weren't.
I understand how a viewer could miss the mark; but how producers, directors and writers could let everything about the retelling escape them boggles the mind.
Don't know that it should have been attempted but what a miss. What a cinematic foul.
Shame on you.
The premise was interesting, a search for Michael Rockefeller who
disappeared in the jungles of New Guinea in 1961. Tying a story,
especially a horror story, to an actual historic event intrigues me.
Like adding Ambrose Bierce to Dusk til Dawn (3) or Edgar Allan Poe to
any number of films it adds an extra dimension to the whole spirit of
suspension of disbelief; and then to add cannibals to the mix without
taking them out of their natural element is like icing on the cake.
Then it falls apart. When is this "found camera" fad going to go away. It is a filming technique that worked once, 40 years ago in Cannibal Holocaust, but has fallen on hard times. After a while the shaky camera thing gets irritating. And when you add in the Blair Witch stylings; the whiny, bitchy filmmakers who are more interested in themselves than the thing they are documenting, then things go from bad to worse.
Too much of the dialogue and storyline seemed improvised. Rather than adding character depth or an interesting plot development, it only took 1 dimensional characters and made them even more uninteresting and unlikeable.
Some of the cinematography was good, though some was too dark (intentional perhaps but grating non the less), and there were some beautiful location shots. The impaled "girl on a stick" scene, lifted from Cannibal Holocaust, was impressive. Okay, that is pretty much the extent of it's finer points.
As to the aforementioned suspension of disbelieve, it requires an involvement in the story to work, and that wasn't present. These weren't professional documentary filmmakers with a "get the shot no matter what" mentality. They were spoiled 20 something or others who would have dropped the camera and run for their lives at the first sign of danger. The danger that came, by the way, in the last 30 minutes or so. Up until then it was all the kind of self indulgence that one would expect from from these two particular couples taking videos of their journey. In other words, trite nonsense that has nothing to do with either the documentation of the search nor true progression of the story.
They did keep it fairly realistic in that they didn't show what the cameras would not have shown. Bodies dragged out of view of the lens, killings happening out of sight, etc. Unfortunately that meant that most of the really good scenes occurred off camera. So, realistic yes, boring, double yes. In other words, show me the blood and gore. In low budget horror filmmaking when you are working without tension, acting, or reason, then you have to make up for it with some added gore and a little T & A. Consider that my gratuitous gratuity to the genre.
If you have to continue in the "found camera" vein then do it with a new twist. Maybe a filmmaker who finds the footage and then attempts to recreate it in his or her own film with perhaps horrifying repercussions. Then we can use a few bouncing camera shots and then move on to some decent filmmaking.
I love low budget horror. I even love bad low budget horror. But when I see a film that actually had potential, let down by poor execution by people who should know better, I feel nothing but regret.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is probably the worst movie I have ever seen. I spent 3 dollars to buy it which should have been a hint and was so bad I wanted my money back even with the little bit I bad spent on it. Basically they go into the jungle and the two couples get in an argument so they split up. One of the couples gets killed not very far into the movie after running into a tribe of cannibals. Then the second couple is rafting down the river and run into the tribe and get away from them. When they get further down the river meet up with another bunch of cannibals and end up at what they think is a celebration or party then when they think their gonna dance or something they get hit in the head and killed then the movie ends. There you go that's the whole movie
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think it was actually quite a good film. I think it's all too easy for people to think, "This is crap - it's like Cannibal Hollocause without the gore" because it never said it was going to be like that. The entire film is filmed on two video cameras (like that of 'Blair Witch'. If you start watching the film not knowing this, you think, "Oh, it's going to be crap," but actually, if you give it a chance, it's actually quite good. Granted, you don't see any of the gore (except for the odd foot or dismembered limb!) as it's all off screen, but the film is quite realistic. The video camera obviously wouldn't see everything because when you're being dragged off to be decapitated, you would usually take the camera with you?! So basically, two couples decide to find out where Michael Rockerfellar disappeared to in the 60's. They fall out - one couple nick a raft and go their own way. They find natives are following them, armed with bows and arrows. They get hit with arrows and are taken off to be tonight's dinner. Next couple follow en route with a raft they've made and find the remains of their friend. They hear the screaming of their other (obviously alive) friend and foolish, follow it. They escape narrowly, just in reach of the sea but are seen by another native. They surrender and are sat down to dinner but then realise everyone's suddenly disappeared. Yup, they're tonight's dinner! 7/10 is my verdict :)
In 2004 Jonathan Hensleigh made The Punisher, a brutal flick that had
some following. Jonathan thought to pick in on the docu style flicks by
making the most shocking of them all, the cannibal script. To add more
believability he added some backstory to it. Michael Clark Rockefeller
disappeared during an expedition in the Asmat region of southwestern
Netherlands New Guinea. His body was never found and it was believed
that he was attacked by a crocodile although some say back then in the
sixties cannibals were still living in that area.
4 friends are going to do some research towards Rockefeller on the island. Of course things go wrong an they do enter cannibal territory.
The most shocking was Cannibal Holocaust back in 1980. Still up to today people are afraid to watch this gory flick. The problem with Welcome To The Jungle is that they tried to remake Cannibal Holocaust. It failed on all bits. The script is really boring. You have to wait until the last 20 minutes before the cruelty comes in. Before that there is a lot of talking and arguing between the friends. And even when they enter the cannibals it looks ridiculous. It's not by putting some skulls on a rock that you have a cannibal zone.
On the part of the gore what's a natural fact in those kind of movies, well, it's low too. You do see parts of bodies everywhere but nothing is shown on-screen. Maybe the best part is when they discover one of their friend's corpse.
The acting was okay but the script failed on all parts. Guns 'n' Roses Welcome To The Jungle sounds creepier than this flick.
Gore 2/5 Nudity 0,5/5 Effects 2/5 Story 1/5 Comedy 0/5
A group of friends (Sandy Gardiner, Callard Harris, Nicky Richey and
Veronica Sywak) decide to find Micheal Rockerfeller, who disappear
during an expedition in the Asmat region of southwestern New Guinea in
1961. Which they are hoping to get rich of finding a man, who disappear
more than 45 years ago. The group of friends find themselves in a
violent territory traveling in the jungle. But they slowly realized,
there's a group of tribe are following them and hunting them one by
Directed by Johnathan Hensleigh (The Punisher "2004") made an watchable, something fascinating horror film. That is based on a real Urban legend myth in the early 1960's. But it is a hard movie to enjoy, especially these four lead characters are unpleasant to be with. It is also too familiar to "Cannibal Holocaust" at times but without the effectiveness. Although the documentary-style filming is nicely done, the locations are good and there's a few strong moments but not enough. It is more of a curio than anything else. It is worth checking once, at least. (** ½/*****).
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