‘Piñata: Survival Island’: If You’re Desperate for Something to Watch… Review
Written by: Lois Kennedy
Directed by: David Hillenbrand, Scott Hillenbrand
Cast: Jaime Pressly, Nicholas Brendon, Eugene Byrd
It’s Cinco de Mayo, and ten college students and two alums are on a scavenger hunt in Mexico. Too bad there’s a piñata lurking, full of evil spirits rather than candy. Once busted open, it proceeds to pick off the obnoxious partiers, mostly in pairs because that’s how the scavenger hunt works. Smart guy Kyle (Nicholas Brendon) and ex-girlfriend Tina (Jaime Pressly) have to stop bickering and stop the evil clay monster before it ruins Seis De Mayo.
Given the title and its DirecTV rating of one star, I suspected I was in for a crapfest from the beginning. But what a crapfest! There are moments of purposeful humor, but dialogue like this is delivered with a straight face: “When we finally cracked it [the piñata] we heard a sound like we were letting out the pain and suffering of an entire village. I had no idea how to describe it until you just put it into words.” Or how about, “It’s stupid for us to split up. That’s a good way to find yourself waking up dead.” Or my favorite, “Its upper body is very human-like, with fire-red eyes and horns on its head.” Then there are the characters’ actions. Everyone but Kyle and to a lesser extent Tina is a drunken panty-grabbing moron. For example Lisa, who helped to break open the piñata, suggesting as a way out of their situation both leaving a message in a bottle and swimming fifteen miles to shore before deciding they should be “smart” and stay in an open area.
While being somewhat original with the whole piñata angle (and highlighting how spoiled and bratty Americans are compared to Mexican villagers), the film cleaves firmly to conventionality: the stupid, stoned, and sex-starved are quickly dispatched, with the brainy Kyle and his arm candy living. The cast is more diverse than slashers usually allow for, but unfortunately the only characters of note are white. Check it out if you’re in the mood for cheese and terrible, terrible special effects.
About the Author: Lois Kennedy is an avid horror fan who also loves to write. You can find her under her pseudonym GhoulieJoe on YouTube, WordPress, and Facebook.
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