Chupacabra Territory Movie Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Released by Maltauro Entertainment
Written and directed by Matt McWilliams
2017, 90 minutes, Not Rated
Released on April 11th, 2017
Sarah Nicklin as Amber
Michael Reed as Joe
Alex Hayek as Morgan
Bryant Jansen as Dave
You get a call from one of your best friends. “I’m ten minutes away from your house and I have key of blow and $10,000 to spend this weekend...you coming?” The answer to that is an empathic “Yes!” However, before that syllable is out of your mouth, your conscience has already told you what you already knew: No good will come of this. That’s exactly how I felt about Chupacabra Territory. I mean, we’re talking about a found footage film about a cryptozoological creature. Those are two things I love. Sadly, both things keep hurting me no matter how many chances I give them, and this movie did not change that.
Here’s the shortest synopsis in the history of movie reviews: four friends head out to the woods to document the chupacabra and bad things happen to them.
You know what? I’m gonna get nitpicky because, with so much wrong with this movie, getting into a few details is no big deal. First of all, the description for the film states: “Four friends hike into the Pinewood Forest to find evidence of the Chupacabra, an ancient creature believed to be responsible for the disappearance of four experienced hikers a year earlier.” Ancient creature? Anyone remotely interested in the chupacabra knows the first report of it was made in Puerto Rico in 1995 (trust me, I was there). Also, the goatsucker sucks the blood of its victims, so all that blood and “gory” genital mutilation? Yeah, that is kinda silly. Who the hell are you marketing this movie to if not horror folks slightly interested in cryptozoology? Another thing: I know that found footage films are mostly about running around and screaming (we have The Blair Witch Project’s success to thank for that omnipresent element of the found footage aesthetic), but the awful effects and half-dimensional characters are so bad that not even the screaming and running around manage to become enjoyable. Seriously, between bad acting, dick jokes, and inconsistencies, I was ready for everyone to die twenty minutes into the film.
If I had to retitle this flick, I’d go with Almost Became. The movie is about finding the chupacabra and that’s fine, but then it almost becomes about dark magic and a strange book, except it doesn’t. It also sort of tries to become an exploitation film via some boobs bouncing, a sliver of sex, and a lady touching herself while in a trance out in the woods, but it also fails to fully embrace the genre, thus failing to become even moderately titillating at any point. Likewise, the story contains a few touches of a larger investigation and some body horror that comes (too late) from a rash, so it almost becomes interesting, and again leaves viewers hanging.
Chupacabra Territory tries too hard to be funny to be a horror movie you can take seriously and is not funny enough to succeed as a comedy. It lacks a plot and stumbles forward without reason and on the back of mediocre acting. Lastly, it suffers from that disease that a third of all found footage films suffer from: the almost-nonexistent character whose only job is to record everything, even when there would be no reason to record in real life. Add all that together and you end up with something that stinks as bad the carcasses the chupacabra allegedly leaves behind. Stay away.