Knowing how a movie ends before it starts tends to ruin it for most people, which is why spoilers usually are avoided, or at least come with a warning. However, one group of films tends to do just the opposite, so many found footage films start off telling us everyone is going to come to a bad end and the footage we are about to see is all that remains. While this hasn’t stopped these films from becoming quite popular with some fans it’s a big minus for me.
Writer/director Matt McWilliams first feature CHUPACABRA TERRITORY starts by informing us that the four people who shot this disappeared without a trace and that the footage we are about to see was found searching for them and was released due to a Freedom of Information Act request. So much for suspense. We then meet the four researchers who intend to find the titular beast, Dave (Bryant Jansen), Joe (Michael Reed THE HAUNTING OF ALICE D), Morgan (Alex Hayek) and their leader Amber (Sarah Nicklin BLOOD Pi, THE HAUNTING OF ALICE D). Ignoring warnings by a park ranger they press on into the woods. Night falls and you can guess the rest.
Judging from it’s Facebook page this was actually shot in 2013 and sat around until it was released last year in UK as LAIR OF THE BEAST and is now finding it’s way to the US market. Maybe back when it was shot it would have felt fresher, but the glut of similar Chupacabra/Bigfoot/random cryptid found footage outing make this feel very familiar. It has the idiotic leads who go looking for a dangerous predator that may have killed other campers and don’t bring so much as a baseball bat for protection, headache inducing photography, (it was mostly shot with Go-Pros), and a creature that’s always just off screen.
To be fair it does have some interesting ideas, one of the cast gets some Chupacabra goo on his arm and it has some nasty side effects. There’s also a bit involving another group of campers also filming their trip that inter cuts between the two groups. It’s effective, but since this is supposed to be found footage it shouldn’t exist. There’s also a surprising amount of of bare skin given the plot.
At the end of the day it’s a lot of the same old thing, with the usual unlikable people doing stupid things much of which couldn’t have actually been caught by their cameras. For those that have made the found footage film popular CHUPACABRA TERRITORY will be a fun if familiar watch, but it’s not likely to crossover to those who don’t normally enjoy this kind of thing, it’s no CAPTURE KILL RELEASE.
CHUPACABRA TERRITORY will be available to rent or own starting April 11th on Flixfling as a 30 day exclusive. The film will then launch on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Cable VOD platforms.