Demon Island / Survival Island
If someone told me that there was a really bad killer pinata movie out there, I would not be surprised. However, the movie I would picture would not be anything like “Demon Island”. There are a few similar elements, such as a monster pinata beating people to death with a stick, but not as many as I would have expected. For being a movie about a killer pinata, “Demon Island” somehow completely misses the mark.
Let us imagine for a moment that a b-movie outfit like Troma decided to take on a killer pinata movie (which certainly isn’t out of their wheelhouse). I would want a number of things to happen:
1) I expect the monster to be a multi-colored, dead-eyed horse creature.
2) There will be a scene where children break open a pinata, only to have human body parts and organs fall out instead of candy, to their shock and disgust.
3) The colorful horse creature will beat someone to death with a stick, and/or kill someone utilizing weaponized candy
Outside of those things, all I want from a killer pinata movie is a fun ride. It just needs to be a traditional gorey slasher movie with a silly plot and some tongue-in-cheek humor around the edges, and you have yourself a movie. “Demon Island” could not have messed up the concept more.
A lot of people initially mock “Demon Island” for the outlandish concept, but as demonstrated above, I think a killer pinata movie could totally be a decent horror/comedy set-up (In fact, there is another killer pinata movie just about to come out).The real problems with “Demon Island” are numerous, but the premise is not necessarily one of them. I mean, just check out this teaser for “Killer Pinata”, which has the same concept behind it:
Anyway, on to the multitude of issues with “Demon Island”. First and foremost, the central monster is a massive problem for the film. According to IMDb, the movie was initially filmed using a rubber suit monster and practical effects, but that it was later replaced with the hideously cheap CGI creature that appears in the final cut (given how bad the CG looks, I shudder to think of what the practical alternative looked like on screen).
Any time that you add in a monster after the fact, there are going to be serious issues with the film. In this case, there is never any sense of proximity between the characters and the monster due to the editing. There are only a couple of instances where it is clear that the monster is interacting with the same environment as the characters, and that is mostly achieved through using disorienting monster point-of-view shots with excessive after-effects.
The poor quality of the monster effects and the shoddy editing around it are enough to make this movie bad. The acting and writing on top of those issues make the film horrendous.
All of the acting is a good few rungs below what you would expect from a run-of-the-mill horror movie, and comes in just underneath the thespian quality that you would find in an Asylum SyFy Original movie. Honestly though, this is one of those cases where the actors couldn’t have saved the dialogue with all of the talent in the world. Writer/Director tag-team Scott and David Hillenbrand have a little more experience producing and directing now, but at the time neither of them were experienced in screen-writing or directing, and it shows throughout the movie. The movie feels like the work of overambitious amateurs that just don’t quite know what they are doing, and that comes through in the dialogue in a very bad way.
The following clip encapsulates almost every major issue with the film. Keep an eye out for the editing, the effects (including the monster vision), the sense of proximity, the acting, and the dialogue.
I don’t know if I can recommend this movie. It fills me a profound sense of disappointment at the wasted opportunity to make a fun killer pinata movie, and there aren’t enough enjoyable moments to justify sitting through the whole thing. It is kind of interesting to see how many things are wrong about it from a semi-academic point of view, but that is about the only saving grace of this thing. Instead of watching this, I recommend supporting a new attempt to create a killer pinata movie: appropriately name “Killer Pinata”. You can find them on IndieGoGo. Their funding period ends on November 1, 2014, so go help them hit their goal!
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