Welcome to the Jungle (2007): Warning this Film Can Cause Drowsiness

We stopped by Blockbuster’s today as they are having a “going out of business” sale of all their existing stock. Oddly enough they are also still renting movies. Also in the odd category is the fact that a lot of their “second-hand” games were more expensive than the same game new on the internet.

Still, some of their deals on Blu-ray pre-owned films were pretty hard to ignore and I picked up three. The most expensive of the lot was £3.85, not bad for a Blu-ray. One of the cheaper ones (£2.80) was Welcome to the Jungle, a horror film that sounded tantalizingly familiar.

I thought at first it was because the name of the film was the same as the comedy film with the Rock and Christopher Walken; a vastly superior film to the one I purchased today as it was at least funny.

Welcome to the Jungle was written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh who may be a bit more familiar to folks as a writer than director. Hensleigh wrote Jumanji and Die Hard with a Vengance as well as Armageddon. Unfortunately Welcome to the Jungle is not his finest work. In fact watching the film (for the second time) I devoutly wished that he’d left his pen at home instead of scripting this abysmal mess.

As I watched this slow-moving (treacle dripping from a cold bun moves faster than this film) story, I kept thinking that it seemed familiar but I really could not understand why. About halfway through the film, Meg tweeted me that she was pretty sure that we’d seen it before. She mentioned “white-painted” people who were stalking a couple on a river. I was at that point exactly in the film.

The second I read her tweet and saw the couple drifting down the river while being “menaced” by tribal cannibals who were painted white, it hit me with all the power of a wet slimy noodle; I had seen the bloody thing before. I can also tell you quite honestly that I was just as unimpressed then as I was with today’s second viewing.

The story centres around two young couples; two all American boys and two Australian girls. One couple, Colby and Mandi have been a couple for a while. Mandi invites an old friend from the land of Oz to come visit her on Fiji. Her mate, the oddly named Bijou, is not pleased to see what she’d planned as a “girlie” adventure turn her into a third wheel.

Colby hooks Bijou up with an American bartender named Mikey and as both of them are pretty much shallow carbon copies of each other, they hit it off. Mikey tells the others about a helicopter pilot who saw an old white guy in Papua New Guinea who he thinks might be Michael Rockefeller.

Michael Rockefeller went missing in that area in 1961. Rumours of his being adopted by one of the cannibal tribes in the area have been around for years. Colby decides they should find Michael and interview him, selling his story to the highest bidder. With an estimate of a million dollars as their starting point the couples go off in search of the missing Rockefeller.

This is another of those “found film” movies that has glutted the market since Blair Witch. I would go on record as saying that this is one of the worst found films to date. The first 55 minutes of the film are dull beyond belief. We get to see a lot of the group’s interaction with each other and very occasionally the locals.

The interaction with the locals is kept to a minimum mainly, it seems, because the company could not afford to pay the local extras enough money to talk. Only when the group of explorers attempt to cross the border do the local’s speak, but it is without the aid of subtitles. On one hand, not translating increases the unease of the group and us when one of the border guards yank Mikey out of the van and shoot an AK-47 over his head. On the other hand we don’t really care about Mikey or any of the others really so they could have translated anyway.

We get to see the disintegration of the social ties within this little group. As time and distance goes by, the two couples divide into a pushy couple and an anarchic couple. Presumably we are meant to side with the pushy group but again; we don’t care as neither couple consist of fully developed characters.

This film runs for 79 minutes and it is only in the last 24 minutes that anything really happens. It’s only after the two couples split up, Bijou and Mikey go off on their own with all the food and the map, that things start to pick up. Unfortunately even the “exciting” part of the film is pretty low-key and leisurely.

The case of the Blu-ray had the quote GUT WRENCHING and the phrase DON’T GET EATEN on it. It should have had a warning on the front that said, “Caution watching this film may cause drowsiness.” Definitely don’t pay one red cent for this film, either to purchase or rent it. Wait until it comes on Netflix or on HBO or some other film channel.

Even at the knock down price of £2.85 the cost is too high for the entertainment it does not deliver. In fact I think that people should be paid to watch this dross and the pay should be a lot more than what I spent on it.

It’s okay dear, it’s almost over…
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