Director: Adam Spinks
Cast: Ben Lloyd Holmes, Sarah Mac, Neil Newbon, Daniel Caren
Plot: A documentary team tag along with some wildlife researchers, accidentally stumbling across a species long thought dead.
I should have known. No B Movie with dinosaurs in it has ever turned out to be good. However, I am such a dinosaur fanatic (I used to classify myself as a nerd, but I am ten years out of loop with the facts I once knew, making me a dino dim-wit once again), that I clung to a slim hope that maybe some independent directors would figure how to capitalise on Jurassic Park’s success and make a great dinosaur movie. Deep down I knew I would be subjected to something horrible, but I didn’t suspect how bad this would be. The moment it clicked that I had made a terrible mistake was the very first frame, when my brain used the very words: ‘Fuck, this is a found footage movie!’
In all honesty, even if this wasn’t a found footage movie, it would still be pretty awful. The characters are so poorly written and dreadfully acted that I imagine this film is pretty much a group of people that wanted to make a dinosaur movie really badly, despite having no talent to their name whatsoever. Everyone here isn’t given a personality – there are given a joke and have to turn that joke into some sort of character. One of the scientists is fascinated by moss, which the journalists find incredibly dull. One of the researchers is a wimpy British guy. The head of the expedition is a South African version of Muldoon. Every time their characters open their mouths, in between the dreadful action sequences, their dialogue has something to do with that gag. The only characters with thought put into them are the two reporters and they are even worse. At least the supporting characters are always held back by their bad writing. What are the leads excuse? The cameraman gets around the problem that his face is never on screen, as he is recording the found footage by constantly talking over what is happening. He is meant to be the comedian of the movie, that loveable idiot who is a real pain at times, but we, as an audience, really want him to survive. In truth, we want him to be killed first, preferably getting the camera stomped alongside him, so the movie has no choice but to come to an abrupt end. The cameraman, and the show’s anchor-woman, are so incompetent at their jobs that it is a wonder someone hired them to go to this remote jungle to record brand new species being discovered. The anchor-woman talks a good game, but is pretty useless, whenever she is asked to speak to the camera. The cameraman, like with all found footage movies, is useless, always pointing the camera in completely the wrong direction and filming things that do not need to be filmed (who records themselves sexually harassing the people they are interviewing?!!!) I would ask why they are so dim-witted, but I know the answer: it all comes back to the writers wanting this to be a funny film. Someone really believes, deep down with all of their heart, that Extinction: Jurassic Predators is a funny film. They probably thought it was their unique selling point putting them above all of the other found footage movie out there. It is actually quite depressing that the film-makers here were that delusional. The humour is atrocious and the plotting of this movie is disastrous.
The found footage just hammers everything home. The one good thing I am taking away from this movie is that I am starting to appreciate how tricky the genre is. I have always discredited it as a gimmick, but after watching four out of five Paranormal Activities and actually finding them reasonably enjoyable, I am learning that the genre can be done well. It is just oversaturated by film crews that have no idea what they are doing: they just want to make a film on the cheap. We all know how the film is going to play out, because we have seen it so many times before. Every movie monster now has its own B Movie found footage film (zombies, aliens, today it is the dinosaur’s turn), where a messy narrative is pencilled up and the director has us spend some time in a random location, treating us to random flashes of the movie monster. It is a good way of making a movie about a killer dinosaur, but never showing us that killer dinosaur. However, now we know that this is going to happen, none of the suspense works. Scenes hang on that possibility that we might catch a glimpse of the movie villain, but when we are so used to never receiving that pay-off, we stop holding out any hope. At least, here, we do see the dinosaur, but then it is a slow, lumbering model that lurks in and out of the darkness, killing everyone off-camera and being about as threatening as a snapped twig. The worst thing is: what did I expect?
Final Verdict: The scariest thing here is that the DVD might get stuck on a loop and we will be subjected to endless monotone jokes and dodgy found footage tricks.