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Chupacabra Terror
2005 - R - 89 Mins.
Director: John Shepphird
Producer: Steve Jankowski
Written By: John Shepphird and Steve Jankowski
Starring: Giancarlo Esposito, John Rhys-Davies, Chelan Simmons, Dylan Neal
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
John Shepphird's 'Chupacabra Terror' tells of a cryptozoologist (Giancarlo Esposito) who captures the fabled Latin American Chupacabra, also known as the "Goat-eater." He then sneaks it onto a cruise liner captained by Randolph (John Rhys-Davies) where, predictably, it gets free and all hell breaks loose as many no-name actors are eaten in bloody fashion.

A phrase one often hears with good to great films in not often seen genres (Westerns, for example) is "They just don't make 'em like this anymore." Well, in the case of 'Chupacabra Terror' a more apt phrase is "They make too many like this nowadays." You know the type: tongue-in-cheek monster/horror films that seem to be self-consciously winking at the audience during the entire duration of the film. As you may know, this sort of thing got its start with Wes Craven's 'Scream' series of films. While it was considered fresh, new, innovative, and exciting back in December of 1996 it is seen as contrived, tired, and just plain old hat in 2005. In fact, 'Chupacabra Terror' as a whole feels contrived, tired, and just plain old hat despite decent production values.

The film follows the monster movie formula by starting everything off with a few nameless victims being killed before switching to the cruise ship where the monster gets loose and wreaks all sorts of havoc before the military is called in. I think you can see where this is going. It is unfortunate and actually rather disheartening that director/writer Shepphird and co-writer Steve Jankowski are so content to just recycle the same old plotline and plot elements in service of dialogue that occasionally serves up a decent comedic one liner but is overall full of tired clichés and the typical over-explanation of the titular creature. There isn't one development in the film that could be considered unexpected.

The acting is, much like the script, uniformly uninspired. Playing the "mad scientist" character type who is perfectly willing to sacrifice human lives in the name of science, Giancarlo Esposito snarls his lines like he is trying out as the next in line to play Hannibal Lecter. As the ship's captain, Rhys-Davies is the sole cast member to retain an ounce of dignity as he underplays his role, much to his benefit. As his erstwhile daughter and Tae-Bo (!) instructor Jenny, Chelan Simmons goes so far over the top with what amounts to the damsel in distress role that one wishes that the Chupacabra would just eat the damn girl to put us out of our misery at having to listen to her whine. Dylan Neal, playing a US Marshall who happens to be onboard the cruise for a little R & R, is bland and thus fails to leave much of an impression beyond the fact that such a performance doesn't leave much hope for a long career for the actor.

Life is too short to bother with a tired excuse for a film like ‘Chupacabra Terror.’
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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