Directed by John Shepphird
Produced by Jeffrey Schenck & Steven Jankowski
Written by John Shepphird & Steven Jankowski
Director of Photograpy Neal Brown
Music by Penka Kouneva
Cast: John Rhys Davies, Giancarlo Esposito, Dylan Neal & Chelan Simmons
2005/88 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
1.78:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD
Some people simply have bad hearing, or just don't pay attention to what is being said to them. For example, when one man said, "Chupacabra's eat goats.", another man heard, "Chupacabra on a boat." and thought, "Yeah! Let's make that movie!" Of course, this is simply sheer speculation, but I can't imagine a better origin for the incredibly silly and dull made-for-TV film CHUPACABRA TERROR, in which the mythical goat-sucking beast is placed on board a cruise ship. Yes, a cruise ship.
As CHUPACABRA TERROR opens, a crypto-zoologist (someone who studies rare and mythical beasts), Dr. Pena (Giancarlo Esposito) arrives on area somewhere in Latin America to track and capture the Chupacabra, a legendary creature who is believed to live off of the blood of goats. After a skirmish, Pena's group is able to trap the monster.
Meanwhile, federal marshal Lance (Dylan Neal) arrives at a port to investigate a recent robbery on a cruise ship commanded by Captain Randolph (John Rhys-Davies). In order to inspect the crime-scene, Lance poses as a passenger on-board the ship and soon meets Jenny (Chelan Simmons), the captain's daughter. At the same time, Dr. Pena has bribed the loading-dock crew to load a mysterious crate onto the cruise ship. Of course, the crate contains the Chupacabra, who soon breaks free and begins a murderous rampage on the ship. It's up to Lance, Randolph, and Jenny to help evacuate the ship and subdue the creature.
Now, I didn't go into CHUPACABRA TERROR expecting any sort zoology or geography lesson, but at the 3:34 point, as Dr. Pena's team is hunting the Chupacabra somewhere in the Americas, there is a cut-away shot to a meerkat, an animal who is native to Africa, specifically Southern Africa/ Kalahari Desert. During the commentary, the filmmakers admit that the footage was shot at a zoo in Los Angeles. If you've been to any zoo lately, then you know that most exhibits have plaques nearby which explain what the animal is and WHERE IT'S FROM! This gives an example of the sort of care and attention to detail that went into CHUPACABRA TERROR, or lack thereof.
If you think that the idea of a goat-hunting creature being trapped on a cruise ship sounds silly, then you are absolutely right. CHUPACABRA TERROR originally premiered on Sci-Fi Channel as CHUPACABRA: DARK SEAS (in January, 2005), but even for a made-for-TV movie, the film is shoddy and low-budget. The "plot" is of the lowest-common denominator variety, as the "story" consists only of the monster getting loose on the boat and killing a lot of people. There are no plot twists or surprises along the way. The movie contains no suspense or surprises, but the murders are gory for the most part. The Chupacabra itself looks OK and we get several good looks at the monster suit, but in the end, it looks like The Creature from the Black Lagoon crossed with a German Shepherd, and bares little resemblance to the Chuapacabra of folklore. As for the acting...well, one has to wonder how John Rhys-Davies went from THE LORD OF THE RINGS to this. Seriously, I always felt that Dylan Neal was under-utilized as Pacey's brother on "Dawson's Creek", but the material here is so weak that he's given little to do. This movie is bargain-basement buffoonery at its worst, and it's not even worth making fun of. CHUPACABRA TERROR joins Columbia's recent releases of SASQUATCH and SASQUATCH HUNTERS as movies which do a pitiful job of presenting legendary creatures. I can only imagine that a crappy Loch Ness Monster movie is just around the corner.
CHUPACABRA TERROR leaps onto DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the image is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is somewhat sharp and clear, but the quality varies at times, as several shots are stock footage. The colors are good, although the skin-tones look slightly waxy at times. The film often takes place in the dark corners of the cruise ship, but the action is always visible. The DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. There are some surround sound cues throughout the film, most dealing with gunfire, creature sound effects, or crowd noise, but the bass response is disappointing.
The DVD contains two extra features. We start with an audio commentary from director/co-writer John Shepphird and co-writer/producer Steven Jankowski. This is an interesting talk as Jankowski seems determined to make this a "spoof" commentary as he lies about the film's huge budget and the elaborate ways in which certain shots were achieved. Shepphird seems more willing to tell the truth, as he details the intricate ways in which the film was shot without having access to an actual cruise ship. The only other extra is a featurette entitled "Making of Chuapacabra" (Yep, that's the whole title.). This 12-minute segment features comments from the cast and crew, as it details the creation of the creature suit and contains a nice amount of behind-the-scenes footage. Unfortunately, it looks and sounds terrible, as if it were shot with a cel-phone video camera.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©