Indigenous Movie Review
Written by John Colianni
Released by Momentum Pictures
Directed by Alastair Orr
Written by Max Roberts
2014, 86 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on April 20th, 2014
Zachary Soetenga as Scott
Lindsey McKeon as Steph
Sofia Pernas as Elena
Jamie Anderson as Charlie
Creature features tend to be some of my favorite types of horror movies. Unlike dealing with the supernatural or some relentless killing machine hellbent on adding your nipples to its never-ending collection, many creatures are tangible beings. Whether they're hiding in the nearby woods, an unexplored cave or even outer space, they are something that we can see and touch and punch in its stupid creature mouth when the situation presents itself. There is also something more terrifying about the idea of some unknown being existing among us that has been here all along. It's not supernatural natural. On the contrary, it's a part of nature that has remained hidden for so long and isn't the least bit happy that you managed to film it with your shitty handycam. That is something that the characters in Alastair Orr's Indigenous had to learn the hard way.
Friends Scott, Steph, Charlie, Elena and Trevor decide to travel down to Panama for the vacation of a lifetime. When drinking and partying on the beach aren't enough, they read of a supposed mystical waterfall that is hidden deep within the forests of Panama. Along with this natural treasure is something lurking in the darkness, waiting to defend its territory from party hungry teens and they don't stand a chance.
Indigenous paints itself as a fun creature-feature-where-local-urban-legend-meets-teen-party movie. The cast and characters are set up well, which says a lot for a movie that starts out with a bunch of people swimming, drinking and dancing in some travel destination. Not making any of that seem super douchey is quite the feat in itself. Tired of the confines of their tourist vacation, they decide to explore a local waterfall that is shrouded in mystery. Knowing well aware that people have traveled to this location and never returned does little to sway the characters from searching for the hidden oasis. When the movie should start picking up in the last third, it unfortunately falls flat. Members of the friend circle begin to get picked off and the usual hysterics ensue. These are all things I love about the start of a good creature versus stupid people film. The killings are boring and when the monster is finally revealed, it is silly looking and there is no background given it's origins. Sure, they call it the Chupacabra, but half of the audience is bound to be lost to that myth. Finally, the random military involvement and the news reporting at the end completely disconnect from the beginning of Indigenous
Alstair Orr was onto something fun and entertaining at the start of Indigenous, but it is missing too much in its last few sequences. There doesn't have to be some enormous backstory to the reasoning behind why a bunch of tourists are being carved up and devoured deep in some rainforest, but when reasons are given, they should have some substance. We watch horror and for the most part are inclined to believing the unimaginable, but when something happens, such as sending in a militarized force into a jungle to find some missing tourists, it feels unbelievable. Compound that with everyone in the world suddenly interested in some mythical creature chilling out in Panama and I had to laugh a little at the end of it all. I will give it to the special effects team. The creature does look pretty cool and scary once we get some up close and personal attention. But then all of a sudden some Call of Duty-looking fuckers show up and a few bullets scare it away like a frightened cat. Indigenous has a great start, but if you're looking for a great creature feature, stick to classics like The Thing or The Descent.