Blood Monkey (2007)

Blood Monkey (2007)

Experience the dark side of nature.

A group of students head into the jungle to meet up with a world-renowned professor where they are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore some uncharted territory. As the trip begins, the professor explains to the students that they are here to study a new species of ape. However the trip soon becomes a life-and-death struggle for survival as the apes turn violent and hungry for human flesh.

 

Ah the ingredients of your typical low budget creature feature – grab a bunch of good-looking young actors, strand them in the middle of nowhere, give them a half-assed plot, add in a talented named actor to the mix for ‘credibility’ and of course don’t forget the monster of the moment. Blood Monkey is another on the conveyor belt of creature feature flicks – I think they’re even beating the slasher and zombie genres now for predictability and sheer repetitiveness – and yet again another creature feature which fails miserably to offer anything remotely exciting, interesting or different.

One of the earliest of the ‘Maneater’ series made for The Sci-Fi Channel, Blood Monkey is also one of the weakest. At least the other creature features knew how bad they were and threw in plenty of rubbish CGI man-eating ‘insert monster here’ action early on to keep us going. This takes ages to get going and is very dull and plodding. In fact when the monkeys (actually they’re apes) do ‘show up’  its already too little too late – and I use the term ‘show up’ pretty loosely. It’s like a really low budget version of Congo only without that silly talking gorilla and Tim Curry’s ridiculous accent to keep us amused.

As is the case with this type of flick, the characters aren’t really important because we know that only a few, sometimes none, make it to the end. And if you’re female and have a habit of putting out for any guy that comes along, if you’re a stoner and you like smoking weed, if you’re a jock and you pick on people, if you’re a nerd and you know way too much about what is going on….well let’s just say that rarely do any of these characters survive. So why invest in characterisation? Well I actually would like to feel a little sad when characters in films get killed off. Unfortunately the group of students we have here just fill up their token roles with great aplomb. In fact to say they’re supposed to be top students, they do some amazingly stupid things like continuing to believe the professor when it’s clear he’s up to no good. I swear at times, the professor looks straight into the camera, laugh and rubs his hands together in glee at the fruits of his evil scheme coming to life – it’s that obvious he’s deceiving them.

F. Murray Abraham, who won an Oscar for his role in Amadeus back in 1985, is the token named actor here and it’s just a shocker to even see his name even mentioned with drivel like this. I mean have things really gotten that bad for him, did he owe someone a favour or does the producer have incriminating photos of him? His performance is good but the problem is that he’s too good for the material. He’s hamming it up and clearly having a blast doing it but why did he take the role in the first place? I’m not even going to bother going through any of the other performances, save for the fact I can’t remember who is who – such was their impression upon me! Oh I’m forgetting the title creatures too, aren’t I? Well I guess everyone else did too because there’s not a whole load of monkey action to be had. What we do see is a couple of monkeys urinating on tents, a couple of close-ups of some fake teeth and then a really cheap and nasty CGI monkey right at the end of the film.

For the rest of the film, the apes are just confined to the background ala Jaws – you know the whole ‘less is more’ thing. But whereas that had John Williams’ infamous score and a rubber fin floating around, this one has nothing to indicate that the apes are even in the vicinity. Maybe this was supposed to be a drama, an ape jumped into the frame of one shot and thus they decided to turn it into a cheap horror? That makes more sense to me.

 

You’d have thought that giving man-eating apes some dumb teenagers to feast on would have been fun but the film even makes a mess of that. Blood Monkey could almost be a cure for insomnia if it certainly wasn’t a cause of depression! Avoid at all costs – stick to laughing at the baboons and their big red asses in your local zoo if you wanted to be entertained.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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