Back in 2015, the cable channel Animal Planet was celebrating a special week of programming that they were calling ‘Monster Week’.
You know the type of jive – big man-eating tigers, polar bears with a hangover and killer hornets that somehow manage to run off with infants etc. Well all these programs were directed commercially at a unique film that was getting it’s world premiere on the channel near the end of the week.
I did hear about this film when it was being hyped up but I didn’t realise it was in the Found Footage/Mockumentary style…and Animal Planet isn’t exactly Universal Studios at the end of the day!
So I only got around to watching it recently…but I’m certainly glad I did…
Back in the mid 1970’s, Tim Darrow and two fellow scientists undertook a mission into the Indonesian jungle in search of a rare owl (who’s name I can’t quite remember at the time of writing this!).
Well this jungle mission ended up as a complete bloodbath – only Darrow emerged from the jungle and he had apparently eaten his two friends in the process!
Fast forward to 2015 and Darrow is still serving time in an Indonesian prison but he still claims he is innocent. Apparently he did not eat his friends – it was instead the work of an Indonesian urban legend…Hobbits!
Yeah, I know, I know…but I promise you there is no Gandalf in this film!
A documentary filmmaker is fascinated by Darrow’s account of what went on in the 70’s and decides to head out to the jungle with his team, in search of the truth behind these Indonesian jungle demons.
Ears Not Eyes
The coolest thing about this film is the fact they walk the ‘Blair Witch Path’ for a majority of it’s running time.
What do I mean by this?
Well, it’s a Found Footage movie that gives very little screen time to the ‘Hobbits’ themselves – it scares you by controlling your ears instead of your eyes.
The Blair Witch did a wonderful job of this way back in 1999.
Director/filmmaker Simon George wisely decides to rely more on sounds, eerie locations and creepy hints at what we’re not seeing. I like his style!
Don’t get me wrong – this is way past the 1999 mark and we do get to see the little blighters on screen numerous times in the movie. It’s just that it’s kept down to a complete minimum and they only really pop up more towards the end (in pure Found Footage fashion).
It worked with The Blair Witch Project and it has worked with numerous movies since…it also works extremely well with this movie experience.
Yeah I liked it – and I was more than a little surprised that a channel like Animal Planet had put this baby together!
If I’m totally honest with you – I can’t remember any real negatives to the experience…which is always a good sign (in my book anyway!).
If I had to be a totally picky wanker I would say that the soundtrack did slightly ruin things at times. On top of this, I was reminded this was a TV movie from time to time by obvious commercial break slots that had been ‘covered up’ – usually by a loud noise or a super-suspenseful one-liner from the documentary maker.
But as I say – I’m being a total wanker by pointing this out, the film was a damn good experience in my book overall.
The cinematography was bang-on and the cast were excellent – something which is pretty rare in the Found Footage genre.
I definitely think that Animal Planet are onto something here – they are good at this type of film. Maybe they could keep on this feature-length track by following up with other cryptozoology favourites like Bigfoot, Nessie or maybe the Chupacabra?
This was definitely a triumph for them – well done guys!