Returning to the site of a hotel where the aboriginal people slaughtered a team of archaeologists, a new team set forth to find out the truth of what happened to a fallen comrade of theirs. After arriving at the site, they find the hotel intact with the staff still busy working. However, everything is not as it seems and the ghosts of the past come back with bloody, head-decapitating vengeance.
Originally shot in 1990 and left to rot until 2016, where the film was resurrected from the dead by Bleeding Skull, James Bryan’s Jungle Trap is pure, uncut, zed grade cheese– said with adoration. Furthermore, under the guidance of director James Bryan, and a new score made with vintage synthesizers, the 2016 version of the film balances retro and modern charms for fans of cult cinema.
To first look at the original film, the lack of budget is obviously apparent. From the jungle shots that looks like it was filmed in a garden center, to the cardboard box interior of the plane they take to the island, the film oozes shoestring ingenuity in attempting to create the illusion of a perilous jungle adventure. At the same time, the limitations will make ‘so-bad-its-good’ fans laugh along as the tight quarters and flimsy props disconnect the illusion of grandiosity the production aims for.
The performances are either awkward or incredibly hammed up: expect loss of a friend to be met with an awkward screaming of “Noooo”, only to act as a forgotten memory the next scene. Renee Harmon (who also starred in James Bryan’s Lady Street Fighter) is the perfect leading lady in Dr. Chris Carpenter, as she is the only one that flexes an acting range. However, everyone in the cast has their charms and their awkward moments to appease fans of enjoyably horrible cinema.
The most notable upgrade the film receives is in the way of a spiffy new electronic music score with vintage synths. Instantly touching on some 80’s nostalgia, the tracks are listenable on their own. In addition, the vintage equipment shows its age with the odd beat drowning in its own fuzz- it is the ideal mix of modern music with vintage noises.
As far as the visual aesthetic goes, the charms of SOV are still there in the boxy ratio, broken color scheme, and natural film degradation. It appears as the goal here was not to reinvent the film entirely, rather to let the original work shine in all its low-budget charm. An admirable approach demonstrates Bleeding Skull knows its audience and why they love SOV quality horror.
If not already apparent, Jungle Trap is a film made for the modern cult audience that loves low-budget cheese in abundance and celebrates this type of cinema by screening it with a crowd of like-minded cinephiles. There is an abundance of great moments and lines that will have a crowd cheering along. It is wonderful to see these low-budget gems dug up for a whole new audience of deviants.
Don’t pass this one up, grab it for the next movie night with friends.
Jungle Trap isavailable through 101 Films in the UK, and includes:
- JUNGLE TRAP transferred from the original 3/4” master tapes
- JUNGLE TRAP Commentary track with director James Bryan, star Heidi Ahn, and the Bleeding
- It Wasn’t My Fault: The Making of JUNGLE TRAP
- JUNGLE TRAP outtakes
- HORROR CON (1989): surviving footage from James Bryan’s unfinished horror movie,
scanned in 2K from the 35mm camera negative
- Bonus movie: RUN COYOTE RUN (1987), transferred from the original 3/4” master tapes
Greetings, My name is Adam and I am from Canada.
My love for all things bizarre came at a young age, as boredom in a small town lead me down a rabbit hole of obscure film, music, tv and literature. I have carried these fascinations with and turned it into a passion for writing, sharing and discussing the various arts.
My area of expertise, if there was one, would be geared towards Asian horror with a particular interest in film and manga. However, if it is odd, disturbing or trashy I probably heard of it or can at least pretend I have in conversation.
Thank you for taking the time to read my work, I always look to grow both as a writer and fan. I truly appreciate anyone willing to come along for the journey and share their passions in turn.