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Review: NEVER LEAVE ALIVE (2017)

How many times has The Most Dangerous Game been filmed now? Can anyone count that high? Well if they can, here’s another to add to the tally NEVER LEAVE ALIVE, out now from Wild Eye Releasing.

Rick Rainsford (John Hennigan, MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, STRANGE NATURE) is a celebrity hunter and reality TV star whose career is on the skids due to his drinking and acting like a reality TV star in general. Booked onto a wildlife cruise in an attempt by his manager to rehabilitate his image, he immediately gets on the wrong side of Anna (Michelle Taylor DARK AMAZON) the photographer sent along to document Rick’s trip.


However when the ship is sunk by a series of explosions. The two of them and a badly injured crew member seem to be the only survivors. They wash up on an island inhabited by ex-KGB operative Col. Zaroff (Eric Etebari TOXIC SHARK, STOKER HILLS) and his assistant Ivan (Joseph Gatt Z NATION). Zaroff is as devoted a hunter as Rick, and it seems his arrival isn’t a coincidence as the Colonel intends to hunt the most dangerous game of all.

NEVER LEAVE ALIVE does stay close to the original 1932 film and a little less so the original short story. It keeps its plotting simple and the action moving at a good pace. It starts with a chilling sequence of an unseen figure disposing of the survivors of a previous shipwreck before jumping into the main story, and it doesn’t take long until we’re back on the island. Since the small cast limits the action scenes and body count the film makes up for it with some good old-fashioned jungle survival tropes.


There’s even a quicksand pit right out of Tarzan. Indeed, the film often has an old-school feel to it despite the modern setting. It’s a great film for a weekend afternoon, where it would have been a staple back before weekend tv became a wasteland of infomercials.

If John Hennigan looks familiar to you, it may be from his career as a pro wrestler, most notably runs as Johnny Nitro and John Morrison in the WWE as well as time in Impact Wrestling and other indies.

He’s turned his attention to acting with a vengeance and has been taking a wide range of roles, ranging from starring turns in films like this to supporting roles in the likes of ASCENT TO HELL and even getting inside the Minotaur suit for the indie comedy DAVE MADE A MAZE. He has the looks and charisma to make it in at least the DTV world, or possibly mainstream Hollywood.

NEVER LEAVE ALIVE is currently available on VOD from Wild Eye Releasing.

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