If Dinosaur Hotel and Hatched weren’t enough for you, Scott Jeffrey and Proportion Productions are back with more dinosaurs. These ones are located, fittingly enough, on Jurassic Island, an uncharted island Ava’s (Sarah T. Cohen, The Gardener, Witches of Amityville Academy) grandfather discovered and never returned from. Now her parents Lindsay (Nicola Wright, The Jack in the Box: Awakening, Beneath the Surface) and Edward (Tony Goodall, Nothing Man, Blood Myth) seem to have met the same fate.
Unlike Gramps, Mom and Dad did leave a map, so she hires a boat from Michael (Ricardo Freitas, Werewolf Castle, Medusa) despite the fact he’s constantly hitting up his flask of booze. And along with her boyfriend Luke (Alistair Stoneman) and scientist friends Cassie (Jamila Wingett, King of Crime, Dark Ditties Presents ‘Dad’) and Tommy (Ray Whelan, Are We Dead Yet?, Reign of Chaos) set sail to find them.
Director Dominic Ellis (Blood in the Water) and co-writer Tom Jolliffe (The Legend of Jack and Jill, Tooth Fairy: The Root of Evil) follow the standard pattern for one of Jeffrey’s films. We get some monsters in Jurassic Island’s opening minutes and then plenty of talk as they set up the film’s plot and get the cast onto the island where they quickly run into a triceratops and tracks of something much more dangerous.
But having seen the prologue we know that the most dangerous creatures on the island don’t leave tracks. It’s those bright green leeches that turn people into zombies that they have to watch out for. Yes, Jurassic Island has dinosaurs and zombies, which means rather than spending money on dodgy CGI all they have to do is apply some makeup to some of the cast and make them look like members of a cut-rate Black Metal band.
It’s all as silly as the idea of a massive island remaining undiscovered in this age of satellite mapping. But the cast all look suitably terrified as they run from whatever threat happens to show up. And Jurassic Island does have several kinds of dinosaurs to run from including a few flying ones. Unfortunately for the most part they don’t really do much except eat a couple of zombies and let the rest of the cast get some exercise running away from them.
Speaking of dinosaurs, the CGI in Jurassic Island ranges from barely tolerable to outright laughable. That goes for both the creatures and the occasional bit of blood spray. Considering how much better the creatures in H.P. Lovecraft’s Monster Portal looked, this is either an older film that’s been on the shelf for a while or a big step backward for Jeffrey’s team.
You can also disregard the heavy weapons and “Contain and Destroy” line on the poster. There aren’t any guns in the film and there’s certainly no mission. The closest Jurassic Island gets to that is Ava’s military background. And while I know this was probably shot last year listening to her, for no apparent reason, spew about American soldiers committing atrocities is rather galling when the news is full of accounts of Russian troops raping and murdering Ukrainian civilians.
If you can deal with its flaws, Jurassic Island has enough going on that you might find it mildly amusing. But the subpar effects along with the weak and predictable plotting will render most viewers’ patience extinct long before the film is over. Once again I’m amazed that anyone can make dinosaurs boring, especially with zombies added into the mix.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release Jurassic Island to VOD on April 5th and on DVD on April 12th. You can check their website for more information, and you can probably find something better on FilmTagger.