Director: Michael Barrett
Writers: Simon Barrett, Neal Edelstein (story)
Stars: Logan Huffman, Natalia Warner, Brandon Sklenar
Plot: Three American tourists follow a mysterious map deep into the jungles of Japan searching for an ancient temple. When spirits entrap them, their adventure quickly becomes a horrific nightmare.
Running Time: 1 hour 18 Minutes
IMDB Score: 3.6
Why I Watched it: Yes it’s another Netflix Canada pick, saw it, it was horror and that’s all, I need to get more picky.
Thoughts: Trying to find cool or even somewhat good horror films is not easy you have to take risks and you have to go blind and hope for the best, you just hope you find a smart young director or something just a little bit different. Honestly when I’m looking at Netflix just a title that looks somewhat decent that looks somewhat professional I’ll give it a try, it’s like mining for gold you get way more sand and grit than you do gold.
What I liked: The running time under 80 minutes, I like that.
Sadly other than that there’s not a whole lot to like, the atmosphere is good and I will say the three leads aren’t bad, Huffman is pretty good but they get nothing to do, so it’s hard to judge, Warner is the leak link as she can’t flesh out her character at all. I know trying to stay positive in this section. A hunted temple is at least different from a house or a rundown mental hospital.
What I Didn’t Like: I wouldn’t call the film a mess but it’s boring and the script is terrible, this seems like a first draft. The script here doesn’t even have much of a set up, no character is drawn out, we get a couple, the girl in the couple invites her oldest friend who is a guy and he’s recently suffered a nervous breakdown and she wants to explore temples in Japan. That’s it and that’s the whole story and that’s all the character development you get. My biggest problem is that the film feels random, they throw an idea at us but it’s not followed through with and it seems out of place, I’ll give you two prime examples one small and one huge, the small one the two guys go to a club the guy who has the girlfriend is openly flirting and hands on dancing, the other guy films this and it doesn’t come up with the group again, it’s never mentioned. Now the big one, so the film is told in flashbacks a person who is injured and beyond recognition is in some type of hospital/prison and he’s being interviewed by a Professor, that’s all we know, they go back to what happened but we learn nothing, it’s a device that they don’t use very well and it becomes a cluster at the end as nothing makes sense.
I’m running into a few smaller horror films that have this problem, the filmmakers just don’t have a handle on telling a simple but spooky horror film, this is the second film in a week where I see a horror film go with a non ending, nothing is explained and it feels like the film ran into a brick wall. When this film cuts to black I sat there and said really? That’s how you want to end it. Also this film does the rely on cliche thing to the point of stupidity, of course they are warned not to go to this one temple in Japan, that’s right in Japan they have their heart set on this one temple in the middle of nowhere, oh and in it’s history kids disappeared there. Do you see where this is going? You don’t even need to be a horror fan to know how cliched this is and yes I want spoil how but they use a character that’s not really there thing, oh my goodness and it’s so oblivious it’s not even funny.
Final Thoughts: A bad film all way around, the actors do try but honestly there is no story here, three tourists go into a spooky temple, and it takes awhile to get there and yes a film just around 80 minutes does drag as well.