Directed by: Matt McWilliams
Cast: Sarah Nicklin
You never know what to expect from a low-budget genre piece. Sometimes they’re so abysmal it becomes a near impossibility to remain conscious for the film’s duration. These are the pitfalls of cheap productions, often riddled with man-sized potholes that some filmmakers can’t see until they’ve fallen in. However, there are a select number of genius creators out there who have a true understanding of squeezing the orange until not so much as a fraction of juice drips, and director Matt McWilliams is that kind of filmmaker, and Chupacabra Territory is that kind of film.
McWillians is not shooting for the finest of awards, he’s shooting because he’s passionate about film. If you love something, why put it to bed? It seems McWilliams has an affinity for the fabled Chupacabra.
The story follows a handful of friends who are hoping to snag the Chupacabra on film for their new documentary. Initially, it isn’t easy finding their way into the dense foliage where these mysterious creatures tend to call home. But this crew is determined, and you know what that means: these guys are going to get some Chupa footage at any and all costs – human life be damned!
The morale of the film is great. Everyone is in high spirits, and this group of 20-somethings look like they’re having a genuinely good time. That’s a great angle to utilize, because you know very soon, things won’t be so uplifting. Really, who ever heard of a fun-loving Chupacabra?
Speaking of the monsters, it isn’t too long before they make their presence known. Their aggression begins on a light note, but the intensity escalates drastically in the third act in particular.
As for the Chupacabra themselves, well, they look decent (they’re often shrouded by darkness, but we do get a few looks). Perhaps a little less threatening in appearance than expected, but the Chupacabrba is admittedly creepy, and you sure as hell wouldn’t want to run into one of them in the woods with virtually nothing to defend yourself. Large or small, they’re certainly capable of inflicting serious bodily damage.
For this little documentary crew the pursuit is worth it. Is the cost of their lives worth it, is the real question… and it seems the answer may be ‘yes.’
In regards to the found footage subgenre, Chupacabre Territory falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. It’s entertaining, but not particularly frightening. There’s fun to be had here, but the shaky cam often annoys and there are some personality shifts in the film that feel strange. They’re almost included as something of an afterthought; reshoots, perhaps?
All in all, however, the acting is generally crisp, the concept wins major points for me (seriously, I’m tired of not seeing Chupacabras on film!) The pacing of the film is great, leaving viewers with very little downtime, and that’s another big plus, as half of the found footage films we see are dreadfully slow up until the final showdown. Not in this case.
I won’t leap to label it a masterpiece, but Chupacabra Territory is more entertaining than a lot of similar styled flicks.