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Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Forgotten Ones (2009) Horror Creature

The Forgotten Ones (2009) - aka "After Dusk They Come"  aka "Tribe" is a creature movie where a groups of wealthy people get shipwrecked on an island. The problem is there are creatures living on that island and soon the group is fighting for their lives. Well mostly they are looking around for the location of the sounds they are hearing, and oh yeah, dying. This was a straight to video feature that borrows some creature elements from the film The Descent (2006) while not capturing the interpersonal charisma of that movie.
  We open with a camp on an island decades (early 1900s maybe) before our story takes place. A man and woman are the last survivors of a group studying a before never discovered species of "ape" man. Unfortunately the creatures are aggressive lead by an alpha male and enjoy the taste of human flesh. So the tight scene where the final demise of the couple is well done and sets a foreshadowing for our main story.
  There is some initial character setup as a group of five set sail to deliver a sailboat to the wealthy owner. Liz (Jewel Staite) is the insecure in her relationship lead. She is the girlfriend of Peter (Justin Baldoni) an arrogant rich guy who is trying hard to leave his loose and carefree ways behind and get serious with Liz. She is reminded of his cheating not so subtle ways early in the film giving the couple some tension. In screenwriting conflict works better than happiness is giving characters depth and the writer / director of this film Jorg Ihle fills out the group with all kinds of interpersonal conflict. The first mate is Jake (Kellan Lutz), who was dumped by Lauren (Nikki Griffin) who is also friends with Liz but is there with her new boyfriend rich and obnoxious Ira (Marc Bacher). By casting we see Ihle wants to contrast attitude and looks where Jake is young and handsome but a working stiff and Ira is heavier and older but is said to have lots of money. Lauren is depicted as selfish and superficial. It seems more of a high school drama way of approaching it and really only succeeds to make the viewer dislike the characters.
  The setup of the plot is the group is going to sail the boat to another island and turn it over to the owner. We see early on though that the GPS is not working correctly but this malfunction is overlooked by Peter. When they get lost he still is a bit casual about the issue really only Liz is taking it seriously. Lauren and Ira are partying and sunbathing and Jake is staring at them jealously. It is only when in the night the boat hits some rocks and sinks does it become clear just how callus Peter was. They all manage to survive but are stranded on an island not quite sure where they are. Peter saved the radio and at least can call for a pick up, if they can be found. All and good as far as it goes but unknown to the group they have landed on that same island that we the audience saw in the opening. There are weird ape men living on the island and soon the movie become a fight for survival. But not until Peter proposes to Liz and the group celebrates.
  In the night Peter is dragged away apparently quietly by the creatures. Showing the two bottles of empty champagne suggests that everyone is sleeping heavy but come on two bottles between five people is not enough to sleep through being dragged off far into the forest. When Liz awakes she sees a lot of blood and no Peter. Having already had an encounter with something in the bushes, but not seeing it she is super concerned. Jake wants to go searching right away but Ira and Lauren being the great friends they are want to take the life raft and leave the island. The conflict between the group members is eventually settled after some annoying posturing and they all go looking for Peter. He wakes in the woods with a stick stuck in his leg. Not a life threatening injury mind you, not bad enough for the amount of blood we saw on the beach. He deals with it wraps a bandana and wanders trying to find his way back to the others. He never does with is a real flaw in the writing, in fact he stumbles around in the woods hearing sounds for the most part and then later is killed by a creature. He never sees the group again and the only reason I can see for his existence in the film is that Liz gets to find his body and is sad, which the  feeds her determination to live? It just feels like a dead end character that is underutilized.
  The group searching for him meets chaos fairly quickly, when Laura steps into a 80 something year old sneer and is pulled high into the trees. Jake climbing to loose her has to fight off the creatures who are just now starting to be shown. He is knocked from the tree and takes a painful tumble while Lauren is carried off by the creature across the treetops. Ira enraged chases after her on the ground. He is a goner as the ape men are onto him too. Liz and the amazingly not broken Jake find the camp from the opening scene. It is in amazingly good shape considering how old it is and Liz find the journal of the man and woman from the opening. It is a flashback giving detail on the creatures in the woods and his intention to capture one. The locals he says call them the "Forgotton Ones". Unfortunately for the survivors they are also being hunted, and after Jake meets his maker Liz is knock unconscious and taken.
  The third act is all about Liz her battle to survive in the caves of the Forgotten Ones and her escape. She wakes next to the dead Lauren and tries to make her way from the cave. The creatures for their part are semi blind ape men with long clawed fingers and gorilla fangs. Similar to the creatures in the  film The Descent they seem to make a clicking type noise to determine where prey is and follow that up with a good sense of small. Liz has to figure this out and when she learns that there is a tree slime that masks her scent she is clear to make a getaway. Of course though things are not that easy. When she reaches the beach the raft is gone taken back to the cave by the creatures. So she slimes up and heads back to the cave for the raft. Escaping is not quite as easy as she would wish but she gets back to the forest. The finale is her and the alpha male facing off in a battle that unnecessarily becomes a bit sexualized on the creatures part. Seeing as this is a final girl film we after some gnarly fighting get to see our conquoring hero get in the raft and paddle away from the island.
  This movie was a bit disappointing to me. Starting with some shitty characterizations for the sake of interpersonal tension meant that really only Liz was likable. Why she wanted to be around these horrible people is a "who knows"? As a viewer I had really no reason to pull for anyone but Liz the rest of the characters were fodder. The island story was all well and good if  seeming a bit derivative. I don't know if it was actually derivative this idea may have been kicking around in the writers head for years before the film was made. Once we started seeing the creatures which is nearly half way through the film they were decently presented and scary in their wildness. The third act is what it really is all about and it almost got me to a place of recommending this but just missed.

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