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Welcome to the Jungle - DVD - Optimum Home Entertainment Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
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Welcome to the Jungle DVD Artwork on Severed Cinema
DVD


BLU-RAY

AKA: Cannibals – Welcome to the Jungle, Anthropofagoi, A dzsungel arnyekaban, Selva Canibal

Directed by:
Jonathan Hensleigh
Written by:
Jonathan Hensleigh
Produced by:
Gale Anne Hurd, Marie Cantin
Cinematography by:
Jonathan Hensleigh, John Leonetti
Editing by:
John Leonetti
Music by:
Richard B. Larimore
Special Effects by:
Gary J. Tunnicliffe, Jane O' Kane
Cast:
Callard Harris, John Leonetti, Sandy Gardiner, Nick Richey, Veronica Sywak.
Year:
2007
Country:
Finland
Language:
English
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 19min

Distributor: Optimum Home Entertainment
 

My Horror Soulmate often laments how her favourite genre never makes a comeback.  Sure, she says, zombies and vampires all return, but what happened to the jungle set cannibal natives?  Once upon a time, "Cannibal Ferox," "Cannibal"/"Jungle"/"Zombie Holocaust" were all big behemoths and lower down creations like "Cannibal Terror," "Emmanuelle & The Last Cannibals," etcetera, were all successes in their own way.  However, it seemed with the loss of the Italian industry machine, they went.  Good old Bruno Mattei has since made some cheap fast buck movies like "Land of Death" and "Cannibal World" under different names.  I've checked the trailers and, to be fair, they don't look too bad if you're a fan of Mr. Mattei.  I'm all for a person who tries to make a genre beast return.

With that in mind, in 2007, out came "Welcome to the Jungle," with the tag line “Don't Get Eaten” and no Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in sight.  The film approaches its material from the real life disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, who was lost in the jungles of New Guinea back in 1961.  Like the true-to-life legends, this movie goes along with the possibility that Michael Rockefeller was either eaten by head-hunters or cannibals in that region, or due to his white skin, was held captive as a curiosity or as a god.

"Welcome to the Jungle" is in effect a retelling of "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Ferox" as we'll see later, but takes its biggest inspiration from the former movie by using hand held cameras as two young couples decide to go into the jungle to find him and film him, thus making money off the news media.  Here's where the first problem arises with the flick -- we have to endure what feels like hours of meet and greet footage, plus bland sex talk monologues as we are introduced to the four teens.  To be fair, you don't really care about them.  Sure in the cannibal movies of old, the characters weren't awesome either, but those films knew not to dwell on their faces and conversations for too long.

Story wise, Mikey works in a bar and has chatted with a pilot who has flown over the regions of New Guinea and seen what appeared to be an old white man in his seventies living with the tribes.  The only white man meant to be in that area is a crazy Australian trader, and it wasn't him.  So after researching from a book Mikey steals, they debate that perhaps Rockefeller doesn't want to be found and has shaken off his money and his family to live peacefully.  That's when they figure that filming him is enough to claim some reward.  Armed with their two cameras they hire a van and off they go.  A pamphlet warns tourists if they see an obstruction or a small child in the road, to simply drive around due to bandits and thieves.  Sure enough there's a child.  They argue and debate, bandits open fire, off they drive, still arguing and debating.

Stopping off in a village where Rockefeller has been rumoured to be seen a few times, they talk to the chief who trades them an old lighter for tobacco.  The lighter has the initial M.C.R (Michael Clark Rockefeller).  Again they argue it could be a tourism thing, Mandi points out that she has a friend with the same initials.  Leaving the van with some local dude, off they go on foot.

The first night they meet a Christian Missionary couple who the gang happily makes feel uncomfortable, then drink the night away.  The next day they all argue as a division appears in the group.  Colby and Mandi are trying to do everything right whilst Mikey and Bijou simply want to party and generally slow the adventure down.  Is it a coincidence that the unbalanced Mikey shares so many similarities with Mike Logan from "Cannibal Ferox?"  Deeper into the jungle they come across a collection of ritualistically placed human skulls.  Mikey steals one, then the next day he and Bijou have left their friends, taking the map, a camera, food, and a gun Mikey brought along.  They float down the river on a raft and soon notice native warriors, silently watching them from the trees.  Bijou becomes angrier with Mikey, blaming this on the skull he stole and he makes it worse by aiming his gun at them.  Once they leave the raft to travel on foot they are attacked.

The heading 'Camera 2' comes up and we are back with Colby and Mandi moments after they were left behind.  We assume they build a second raft because next they are riding the river.  Along the way, in various places they find the supplies, Mikey's gun, blood.... realising the natives are watching them, the knowledge they are in a lot of trouble dawns.

"Welcome to the Jungle" is a brave attempt at the classic cannibal genre but due to the characters and very long scenes of empty dialogue, its failure is a shame.  The jungle scenes are beautiful, plus as you enter the final quarter of the movie things do get very gripping.  The trouble is that it takes too long for so little.  As you've probably gathered, the four characters just shout and threaten each other in nearly every scene.

Though not as gory as its inspirations, there is a show stopping homage to the impaled woman from "Cannibal Holocaust," severed feet, torture and pieces of the Missionary couple laid all over the place, courtesy of the never out of work Gary J. Tunnicliffe.

The writer/director is responsible for 2004's "Punisher," plus "Die Hard With A Vengeance," amongst many others.  The cast members aren't really known for much over the years, although Callard Harris, who plays Colby, has been in "Sons of Anarchy" and the new "Dallas" series a few times.

To sum up, after watching this, perhaps the cannibal genre should be left alone to the memories of nasties and the era of Mary Whitehouse.  If however someone comes along who can not cast annoying teens, and not blatantly copy the classics, maybe, then another cannibals-in-the-jungle movie should emerge.  It doesn't need a huge budget, just a lot of heart.

On this UK release the extras aren't much of note.  A commentary by the director, a trailer, and a deleted scene.  One deleted scene --  more sex talk dialogue, etcetera.  Oh boy, I was damn sure I switched off after about ten seconds of that one.

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Welcome to the Jungle DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16:9
 Region: PAL R2
 Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 5.1


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Director's Commentary
 - Deleted Scenes
 - Trailer

Comments
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peter3223   |142.162.227.xxx |2014-09-07 14:25:52
That's a good movie.
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 July 2013 )
 
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