Welcome To The Jungle (2007)

DVD Cover (Dimension Extreme)
Jonathan Hensleigh Jonathan Hensleigh
Sandi Gardiner Sandi Gardiner
Veronica Sywak Veronica Sywak
Callard Harris Callard Harris
Nick Richey Nick Richey
John Leonetti John Leonetti

4.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Cannibal Film, Horror, Jungle Film, Slasher Film, Cinéma Vérité
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Review by Tristan
Added: January 21, 2008
You want a quick summary of Welcome to the Jungle? Think the Blair Witch Project meets every cannibal movie ever made. What's that you say, such a movie already exists? Wait, it's coming to me now. Oh yes, Cannibal Holocaust, the most notorious, genre defining cannibal movie ever. I don't know why Jonathan Hensleigh thought it would be a good idea to attempt a remake or re-imagining or whatever he wants to call it, but he did. Let's take a peek at some of his past film credits, shall we. He wrote Armageddon, Next, and the Punisher, three movies which should have never seen the light of day. He was also the director of the Punisher adaptation and I guess when a movie bombs, you're given a hand-held camera and sent off into the jungle to fend for yourself. That's not the plot of Welcome to the Jungle unfortunately, but it might as well have been. It might have made for a more entertaining ninety minutes.

For those of you unacquainted with the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, it goes a little something like this. In the early 60's Michael Rockefeller - son of Nelson Rockefeller - went on an expedition with a few colleagues in the jungles of New Guinea. When their pontoon boat overturned, some of the men made it to shore, but Rockefeller was never seen or heard from again. After a lengthy search effort he was declared deceased a few years later. I apologize for the history lesson, but it's required to understand what little plot this film has.

Couple A: Mandi and Colby (Sandy Gardiner & Callard Harris) and Couple B: Mikey and Bijou (Nick Richey & Veronica Sywak) are heading off into the New Guinea wilderness in search of Michael Rockefeller, a man presumed dead for some 30 odd years. Seems like a fool's quest, but it has been reported that a white man is living amongst a tribe of natives, and the chances are good this might be Mr. Rockefeller himself. Seeing this as an opportunity to become both famous and rich, the four go-getters pack up and head into the jungle bringing only the bare essentials and a few video cameras to record their findings, and possibly get an interview with a man who'd spent more than half his life in the jungle. The rest of the story is obvious, as the group runs into a village of cannibals, and is hunted down.

Well known fact: a cannibal movie has to have a few staple things. Cannibals, dismemberment, rape, organ munching, and an animal killing or two. Welcome to the Jungle seems to be an exception to this rule, as we see a few cannibals here and there, but it's all from the camera's point-of-view. All the gore - save one scene - is off camera, and we are basically treated to 30 minutes of someone running with a camera, not unlike the final scenes in the Blair Witch Project.

This is the second film I've watched this weekend that uses the hand-held camera technique. I guess since conventional cinematography has been thrown out the window, it's alright to settle for below average actors as well. The actors in this movie did nothing but annoy me from the moment they started talking. They're cliched young adults who are only interested in sex and drinking, and when the shit hits the fan, all they can do is bicker and yell at each other. Personally I'd be as quiet as possible while sneaking through cannibal infested foliage, but these folks have a different agenda. Primarily, become somebody's lunch.

This film is actually so much like Cannibal Holocaust I can't believe there wasn't any sort of legal problems getting it made. Maybe because Deodato's masterpiece was filmed in another country and was quite the legal issue itself. Still, it's a group of people who run into some cannibals, and their tapes which document the ordeal are later found. If that isn't the biggest rip off, I don't know what is. If you're going to attempt a remake, you should probably add a little something to spice it up and improve upon the original. All I can say is that hopefully the rumours surrounding the Cannibal Holocaust remake are true, and in a few years time Ruggero Deodato will treat audiences to a film that will wipe this abysmal piece of film from our minds for good.

I hate to say it, but I think the cannibal genre is officially dead. Maybe not the entire genre, but at least the cannibal/jungle films. This movie was boring, uneventful, and ultimately displeasing. Since I avoided any Guns N' Roses references thus far, I think it's only fair if I throw one out now. Welcome to the Jungle: There are no fun and games to be found here. Take a great big pass on this one.

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