The Jungle Book this is not!

Director Andrew Traucki, has put together The Jungle with some financial help by using the latest technique, Crowd Funding, which has gained popularity among the many budding filmmakers out there. His last two films, Black Water (2007) and The Reef (2010) were met with mostly positive reaction, though Black Water was the more popular of the pair. Traucki also collaborated in ABCs of Death with his ‘G’ segment, and that being the case, it’s fair to say he has some solid experience with independent horror filmmaking, so expectation were fairly high.

Instead of attempting to scare with some of the more inventive found footage styles witnessed of late, Traucki has stuck to his tried and tested formula of using nature to create fear, as opposed to poltergeist, or mad axe-wielding, radiated deformities, who, for no apparent reason, are determined to snuff out life for the sheer hell of it. He heads away from water to greener pastures, and takes us into the jungles of Indonesia, hoping to capture endangered Leopards on film. Instead, Larry (Rupert Reid, Matrix 2+3, Another Earth) finds that he and the others, face something far more dangerous to their health.

We are given the following information at the start of the film: In 2011, big cat expert Larry Black, set out to find and film endangered Leopards in the remote jungles of Indonesia. This is the footage from that expedition.

The Jungle
Andrew Traucki
Rupert Reid, Agoes Widjaya Soedjarwo, Igusti Budianthika
Release Date
4 July 2013
Influx Grade: C+

We are informed on-screen that it’s now October 11 2011, and Larry and Ben are testing the equipment in a final check. Ok, Larry is actually doing all the testing, our camera person is merely recording it. We see some small camera gear that is attached to the side of a tree, which is triggered by motion. He also has a smart-looking hide, where he explains more about his intentions. Larry’s wife Jane isn’t happy that he does this type of thing a lot, she tells the camera with tear in eye. Larry talks to his contact in Indonesia via the internet, Budi, (Agoes Widjaya Soedjarwo, The Island of Dr. Moreau), and advises Larry of some possible recent sightings, where cattle have been attacked, so a keen Larry says goodbye to Jane, and off the brothers go.

On arrival at Budi’s, they are introduced to an unexpected person who it seems is to travel; with the group, a tracker by the name of Adi. They go from Budi’s (whose wife is also unhappy, but for a different reason) to the local Shamen, where they are told of a “forest demon,” which the locals appear to believe in. The tracker also believes in this sort of thing, which Larry points out a couple of times, when he sees him holding on to some charms. They find a spot in the jungle where there is evidence of poaching, as there are three cages with one holding a snake. They find blood on the ground, so try to follow the trail in hope of finding something of interest. They set up their gear, tie string to the leg of a live chicken, and wait, using their night-vision gear. In the morning the chicken is still very much alive, but on the laptop they see a blur of motion, but they can’t identify the culprit.

While they hunt, and follow trails, they begin finding small skulls and various bits of organic detritus, tied to the end of branches (Blair Witch anyone?), which makes an already nervous Adi, downright anxious. They at last catch a Leopard on film, after they have a scare, but now larry wants to push on, but the others don’t appear as keen on the whole hunting thing anymore. After they find a human lower arm with hand still barely attached, chewed up rather badly, they finally all freak, except Larry of course, who wants to carry on regardless. But they soon learn that it’s not they that’s hunting Leopard, but something else is hunting them.

For being a very low-budget film, the overall finished product is indeed commendable, and even though it’s well trodden ground, with nothing exceptional, it still entertains, and is far more enjoyable than loads of better financed movies out there. It isn’t a fast paced film, nor will it break box office records, rather, it will keep a body happily amused (and scared) for an hour and change, which is more than can be said for quite a few I’ve reviewed just recently. Those had no excuse, as they had serious backing. Mr Traucki has had to scrape the cash together (as witnessed in the attached trailer), and done a good enough job besides. The acting was good, the script nothing special, but all executed well. It is, unfortunately, a rather forgettable film, because of the uninspired story, but in this day and age, it isn’t such a bad thing, as long as you get your moneys worth in the end. The Jungle isn’t the best — but it works.

Nav Qateel

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