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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Demon Island (2002) Horror Pinata

Demon Island (2002) - I saw this title as Pinata: Survival Island and it is quite the strange film, a combination of screwball college comedy, ancient tribal myth and bad CGI monster murder and attempted survival. Not totally a CGI monster ther is a small person who manned an outfit for some of the shots but the effects are really there and a bit cheesy.Really it is a survival story just the slasher in this case is a hundreds year old clay pinata that comes to life. The film starts with the origin story for the killer. Created by a central American tribe to end the bad luck they were having, it was formed by a ancient process to appease the angry spirits. A sacred ceremony was held to cleanse the souls of the tribe members locking the evil from each member into the pinata. So they kept the good and shed the evil and then the pinata with a tribes worth of evil was set afloat down the river. It is a long introduction and serves to explain why the sin filled pinata is evil upon being awakened.
Come to modern times and we have a college fraternity, sorority gathering on a tropical island. It will be a giant panty hunt and wouldn't you know that one of the features of the party is that around the island their are pinatas with bottles of alcohol.  Very quickly we learn about our main character and then they are paired off and the search begins. Our main characters Kyle (Nicholas Brendon) and Tina (Jaime Pressly) have just broken up, when he walked in on her kissing another guy. You can predict that their story arc will bring them back together by the end, but for now like all couples they are handcuffed together.  Bob (Robert Tena) has snuck a key to allow he and Lisa (Lara Wickes) more mobility but unfortunately for them they find the pinata. They get high and  and when the opportunity arises they try to crack it open. Now I thought I paid attention to the myth at the beginning but it sure seems that the evil spirits were itching to get out. Once cracked that Pinata became a demon infested killing tool and all the couple became the bait. The released evil spirit starts hunting down the kids.
  All the while there is a certain sense to the film. These guys don't just get slaughtered, instead they try to think things through and do their best to fight back. It is refreshing when everyone is not a moron in a horror movie. Being a horror movie though there is going to be a body count and most of the characters are indeed bludgeoned to death by the angry pinata.
  Our actors are a mixed group of known and not so known. Nicholson Brendon found fame on the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer playing Zander. Recently I saw him in the very interesting Time shifting film Cohherence (2013)  as well as being a reoccurring character on  the television show Criminal Minds.  Jamie Pressly works steadily doing voice and comedy roles. After a turn on My Name is Earl playing  Joy Turner she continues to work in TV and films on a regular basis. At the time of this role she was a pretty stunning twenty five year old. Eugine Byrd who played Doug went on to be a regular character in the show Bones. Garrett Wang who played Ensign Kim on Star Trek Voyager just prior to this film is suddenly working more in 2014.  Lara Wickes stunningly adorable as Lisa seemed to get less work after the film than she did before it, as an actress that is she is currently working as a producer.
  Not that this is a great movie but it at times was a bit entertaining. Some of the CGI leaves something to be desired and the plot has holes all through it. The strategies the characters come up with in thinking how to destroy the pinata monster are base on thin air. Unlike the audience they have no idea the myth of the creature so knowing to burn it or break it into tiny pieces really is just a shot in the dark. The story arc only exist to establish differences betweenthe character but lets be honest here. This is a survival movie so you only need a small amount of character development. Most of the characters are sure to end up dead. I can't really with a good conscience recommend this film. You are more likely to laugh at it than be scared so do what you will with that information.

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