Director: Danny Bishop
Cast: Jana Mashonee, Cody Vaughan, Donny Boaz, Alexandra Hulme, Lorenzo Lamas, Jack Gould
Plot: In the isolated town of Fossil Ridge, a senile Doctor creates several dinosaurs in his backyard, which are released by a group of foolish teenagers looking for gas.
*Groans loudly.* Why do I subject myself to these movies?
For some reason that is never explained (nor said how it is even possible), a crazy, old doctor creates himself a group of dinosaurs. Despite the title and his land being called Raptor Ranch (great way to hide yourself from the FBI when Velociraptors start eating the townsfolk), he has a whole manner of different dinos, including a Megolosaurus and everyone’s favourite, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. As he keeps to himself, feeding them to keep them from getting too aggressive, a group of various characters get caught up in the town. A local waitress, who is desperate to escape from this town of rednecks, had a mother killed by one of the runaway raptors. A group of Dallas teenagers run out of gas in the middle of a crazy road trip. A band’s mobile home breaks down during a tour. They all end up meeting up at the gas station that the local waitress works and head off to the senile doctor’s, the only man who owns gas in the entire town (yes, including the gas station), unaware that they are in for a world of trouble when they get there.
I don’t even know where to start with this one. Well, I guess the obvious place is the fact that it is mind-numbingly stupid. I don’t mind these B Movies, as I understand that they have limited resources at hand. The dinosaurs are clearly CGI and cannot interact with the human actors as much as we want them to. I understand that. The action does what it can, unable to engage in too many massive set-pieces. When I review these B Movies, I take that on-board and adjust my reviewing checklist accordingly. However, the one thing I cannot forgive is treating the audience like they are stupid. Certain plot holes are edited over, so the audience is meant to roll with the moment, rather than lingering and questioning certain details. I still maintain that the script should be the one element of a B Movie that should not have a dip in quality. I am not even talking about the silly dialogue, because actually some of the dumb things the characters came out with was the one thing keeping me from turning this rubbish off. However, there are moments when the humans are able to outrun the pursuing dinosaurs and in the next frame, the Raptors aren’t even there. The dinosaurs either give up or the humans are faster than a pack of Velociraptors. I don’t think so. Also, to squeeze the most out of a joke (two characters are having sex while two Raptors stalk the petrol station), the dinosaurs take ages to actually kill someone. Moments like this make Raptor Ranch really hard to get into.
The characters are hard to get behind. Jana Mashonee is meant to be the brave heroine we relate to and want to make it out of this alive. Sadly, she under-acts and feels like she is coasting through the movie. She is hostile to the other characters and, in being a brave female figure, comes across as bored when the dinosaurs start eating her friends. The male counterpart to Jana is Cody Vaughn’s reluctant road trip teenager. The writers cannot decide if he is meant to be the dumb kid character or the unlikely hero that is meant to come in and save the day. They go for both and we get this weird cross of a guy who does brave things and then follows it for being a whimpering moron. At least Donny Boaz’s character starts as the female-obsessed jock and ends the film as the female-obsessed jock. His character is hardly an interesting one, but he is far more consistent than anyone else here. Worst of the bunch is the Goth band member. She makes no sense. She is played for jokes, but that joke in mind is laughing at everyone dark and creepy. When a character is eaten by a T. Rex, she giggles about it and makes a joke about ‘death’. She finds their eventual doom so amusing, even occasionally going out of their way to get everyone in trouble. I don’t want to blame all of the actors, as I am sure that it is bad directing that ruins the characters, but it still remains to be said that they aren’t good protagonists to spend time with.
There is so much more to complain about. While I enjoyed that the first half of the movie doesn’t fully embrace the dinosaurs, building suspense, when they do show up, it is non-stop chase sequences. I never thought I would ever say I was bored by a dinosaur eating people on TV, but today I can proudly say that I was. There are also far too many redneck jokes. The entire first half of the movie takes the piss out of the backwoods Texans. The jokes are too easy, reek of stereotypes and not one of them brings anything to the plot, even comedy. The FBI detectives hinted in the background don’t feature in the main action, which is a shame, because it could have raised the movie above a teen ‘eat-em-up’. There isn’t too much to recommend about this movie. Someone actually made Jurassic Park 3 look worthwhile.
Final Verdict: If you want a dumb film about teenagers being eaten by dinosaurs, I guess this is up your street, but it still will probably make you leave unsatisfied.