2013 / Director. Andrew Traucki.
Andrew Traucki's first two films were BLACK WATER and THE REEF. Both were exceptionally tense and effective nature-vs-man thrillers and announced him as an important new talent on the scene. When I read that his third feature film was called THE JUNGLE, my heart rate rose a little. Where he had previously dealt with crocodiles and sharks, this new chiller promised big cats. Even more reason to get excited! So I walked into the cinema with reasonably high expectations - and I walked out shattered. The ethos of this site is to reflect on positive aspects of films and glaze over the negatives. The problem with THE JUNGLE is that there aren't any positives. It pains me to write a scathing critique but I owe you my honest opinions, free of sugar-coating. I was expecting the film to be a straight and controlled narrative but was confronted with a lousy and uninspired found-footage movie. Regular readers will know that I'm not a fan of the format. So once I realised what I was watching, I adjusted my frame of mind and accepted it... now lets see how well they handle it... not very well. It tells the story of two Australian researchers who venture into the jungles of Indonesia to document a rare leopard, which is on the verge of extinction. Along with their two local guides they find themselves being stalked by something very large. There is nothing new here and we've seen it so many times before. THE JUNGLE is essentially The Blair Witch Project Redux. It follows an almost identical narrative arch and even has the audacity to rip off most of Blair Witch's tricks (verbatim). Lots of night vision, noises in the dark and an elusive "thing" always nearby, always lurking. That's basically the entire movie and when there's no tension on the screen, we're insulted with terrible dialogue and really woeful acting. I was so so disappointed and while I still regard Andrew Traucki as an impressive new talent, I have reigned in my praise. After making two impressive chillers he has delivered an underwhelming and uninspired stinker and I wont be holding much hope for whatever he brings us next.