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The Jungle – 4

Director – Andrew Traucki

Cast – Rupert Reid, Agoes Widjaya Soedjarwo, Igusti Budianthika

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After giving us a good experience with Black Water, a decent one in The Reef, and the mediocre “G is for Gravity” in The ABCs of Death, for some reason I was interested in seeing writer/director Andrew Trauki’s new “found footage” horror film, The Jungle. I was definitely skeptical going into this piece and really did not expect a positive experience experience from it, but it was late and I had nothing better to do but sleep. Sadly, I can say that this 87 minute experience fares much like the numerous other found footage flicks plaguing the genre, meaning it sucks. The jungle idea is one I have yet to see in the sub-genre, but with mediocre horror and weak usage of the antagonist this makes for an experience I will not recommend.

When big cat conservationist Larry Black and his filmmaking brother Ben travel into the Indonesian jungle in hopes of finding and documenting the endangered Javan Leopard, the hope the footage will entice the Indonesian government with providing more resources to aid the endangered cat. As they travel deeper and deeper into the jungle they begin to realize that the native superstitions are not quite superstitions, and they are being stalked by a deadly predator.

I really enjoy when horror films involve creatures in the jungle ala Predator, Congo, etc., so that was really the biggest reason why I ventured into this piece. Things start off well, with the usual introductions of Black’s crew, and soon enough they are in the jungle with motion sensor cameras, night vision, and a tranquilizer gun so they can tag the rare beast. It does not take long before they begin to find evidence of big cats in the jungle, with bloody carcasses and giant claw marks adorning trees along their trek, but little do they know these tell-tale signs were not left by the endangered Javan Leopard. Local superstition says that another beast lives within the jungle and feasts on local folks and their cattle, and it is around the 45 minute mark that the horror finally begins to kick in. It is subtle at first and the camera catches little of it, and for the remainder of the experience the only horror we get is the crew running through the jungle, slowly disappearing one by one, while un-human screams circle about them. I was glad to finally see the look of the antagonist and found it to be an OK one, but having to wait until the very last scene was pretty lame.

Trauki’s direction was OK and did a decent job at keeping me interested. The look of the film was just fine and the locations used provided good cover for the antagonist to hide in and efficiently stalk the crew members. Ben’s camerawork was not shaky and that played into him being an experienced filmmaker and not someone donning an expensive video camera for the first time. As far as atmosphere goes the nighttime scenes were a definite winner for the flick and Trauki used the night vision idea to his advantage. Unfortunately we did not receive an ample amount of horror throughout the film and I was left wondering why a filmmaker / studio would even waste time, money, and effort in putting out a loser of a film like this.

Overall, The Jungle is just another cheap attempt at found footage greatness that does not offer more than a cool setting. The level of horror is low and while the film may keep your interest through most of the experience it never develops into a well-executed, exciting experience, and will ultimately let you down in the end.

Rating: 4/10

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