Welcome To the Jungle

In the vein of the infamous and controversial Cannibal Holocaust and the more recent The Blair Witch Project, comes the harrowing “true” story of four spoiled twenty-somethings who set out into the jungles of New Guinea armed with a few digital cameras to find the missing Michael Rockefeller and make themselves a million bucks by getting an exclusive interview with him.

With this borderline-believable plot device and some decent acting, the story actually comes across as fairly convincing, and without the glut of “this really happened” intros running rampant in recent horror films (the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Primeval, White Noise, etc.), it might have pulled some more convincing wool over the eyes of viewers, though it still offers some remarkably tense moments.

Almost an hour of slightly slow, whiny footage leading up to the inevitable horror does help set the stage for the real action to take place, though most typical viewers are unlikely to be prepared for the gruesomeness of what does happen. Unfortunately, anyone remotely familiar with the far more excruciating and explosive Cannibal Holocaust will find themselves less than terrified by the images that director Jonathan Hensleigh has painstakingly prepared. That’s not to say that they’re not disturbing, they’re just not daringly original or horrific. In fact, one scene in particular is so derivative of the 1980 “classic” that it feels as if there should be a disclaimer beneath it.

What Welcome to the Jungle manages to do in this day of savvy movie-goers and ubiquitious digital cameras, is deliver a few scares and come off as a very well-done feature film masquerading as a real tale of horror. It is in the film’s favor that distributors don’t explicity reach for a false sense of reality in marketing the film. Rather it comes off more like an Open Water on land. A behind the scenes making of documentary included on the DVD sheds some light on Hensleigh’s style, which is interesting for a few minutes, but eventually grows a bit dull.

Zach’s Rating: C+
Perfect For: Anyone looking for Cannibal Holocaust Lite
Stay Away if: Graphic images and situations are just not your thing

To purchase Welcome to the Jungle, visit Amazon 

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