4 September 2007 | lost-in-limbo
Lets go ape
A group of medical students are planning to play live role game in the shape of "Dungeon and Dragons" in the medical campus building after hours. They'll be locked in and accompanied by Professor Sorenson, who'll be The Gamester that looks over the contest. While searching for clues, to eventually save the princess. They didn't expect a real nemesis would try to stop them, as now a furious, drugged up lab baboon is on the loose and tearing apart the gamers.
I'm stuck here, because I thought there were good moments within, but also equally bad aspects to this shonky, overwrought and mildly fun monkey on the rampage b-grade clunker. The disappointing thing is the premise pulls you right in, but what we get never lives up to it and its frustratingly vapid script with little success stretches the one-idea concept out. You could only do so much. It does seem to hold your interest in patches though, after a somewhat meandering set-up to begin with. Actually I got to hand it to screenwriter Roger Engle, as even though there was too much dead air and repetition, it still has guts and never took the easy option. The serious approach the material is going for is totally thrown off balance due to how silly going it gets and the lack of menace dripping off the "I have no respect for doors!" baboon. Some people might find the baboon terrifying, but on the other hand for me it came off pretty risible. Although that's me watching it, and not being in the same room with it, as if so Im sure it would be a different story. The baboon's obviously method performance was nothing but brilliant! Watching it bouncing about, dawdling around on its hind legs, shrieking in anger and the facial activity gave me a good laugh, but at least the attack scenes struck a nerve as they were brutally viscous and relentless in detail. Some took place off-screen, but were well done and the few we saw were unpleasantly aggressive. Decent gore FX was on show, but this was more so the aftermath and blood was spilled very often. Directors' Tom Logan and Hugh Parks do a mechanical job, in which case they could've done with much tighter editing. However because of the minimal production, it's stringent quality generates some well-mounted anxiety and claustrophobic passages. It's all about the jolts, and since we know that, we see them pretty much coming and in an all too quickly, cramp fashion. David C. Williams' brooding musical score is well placed throughout. The performances by the young cast including the likes of Christopher Atkins, Amanda Wyss and Ari Meyers is by the numbers. Roddy McDowall is reliably fine, in an all to familiar role.
Overly drawn out, but reasonably fun fodder.