There comes a time in ones—once illustrious—career where members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences need to intervene and strip said professionals of their Oscar statues. That time has finally arrived for F. Murray Abraham. Like Cuba Gooding Jr., F. Murray has absolutely trashed his profession by appearing in utter crap like THE LAST ACTION HERO and THIRTEEN GHOSTS. And, as far as crap goes, even Cuba Gooding Jr. has managed to avoid DTV monster movies. But hey, maybe F. Murray has a deep seeded affinity for over-large objects; after all, the guy did start out his career in the “Fruit of the Loom” ads playing giant apples and such. So…is that really the excuse for BLOOD MONKEY? The world may never know.
Abraham plays Professor Hamilton a researcher that’s more than a bit off his rocker—held up in the African rainforest hellbent on proving the existence of the missing link. He doesn’t have much to show for his efforts, as his last batch of assistants quickly became monkey chow. Enter a new group of fresh-faced grad students that look ill equipped to be trekking about the jungle and more at home basking on the beaches of the CW Network. This group of pretty boys and girls exhibit more than a degree or two of incomprehensible stupidity when they agree to follow the Professor and his ass-kicking, AKA 47 toting, Michelle Yeoh-wannabe assistant into the uncharted land of the BLOOD MONKEY. It takes about 24 hours too long for this bunch to figure out that they’re all bait! Betcha can’t guess what happens next.
BLOOD MONKEY is the latest in a series of “Maneater” films by RHI Entertainment (IN THE SPIDERS WEB). RHI shot these productions in Thailand and compared to IN THE SPIDERS WEB, it appears that they were sharing more than just location from production to production. BLOOD MONKEY too is as formulaic as the other film, but both feature the same base plot points—a group of kids in the jungle, a madding antagonist, and a dower ending.
The big difference between BLOOD MONKEY and IN THE SPIDERS WEB is that, in “SPIDERS”, they actually managed to show you the spiders. In BLOOD MONKEY, we never see the damn monkey until the final few seconds of the film. And I mean seconds—like two of ‘em! They flash the teeth and BAM….roll credits. The rest of the production is shot POV in some half-assed PREDATOR-vision camera style. Of course the filmmakers do provide the tried-and-true method of cloaking shapes and figures in fog and tree limbs for good measure. That “not showing the monster thing” that worked so well back in the old JAWS days, doesn’t afford Director Robert Young one iota of benefit on this film. It’s a cheat to an audience that stuck around 88-minutes for an incredibly inept project, built around the idea that a group of graduate students in Anthropology would be retarded enough to get themselves into this situation to begin with. I know college is one big party (having been there myself) but this level of stupidity is almost damming of our country’s entire higher-education system. I’ll bet the producers of BLOOD MONKEY never knew they were making such deep-seeded social commentary.
Since you already know that you’re not gonna be seeing some supped-up simians in this film, at least there must be some great gore right? Wrong. Except for a few rubber body parts and a descent slash to the face this film is missing most of the sticky stuff too. Frankly, there is nothing really worth investing your time into here.
So, you might ask how I managed to still give this film two skulls? It’s a fair question and I have an answer. As ridiculous as BLOOD MONKEY is, it’s virtually bordering on the “so bad it’s good” precipice—teetering on the edge of that abyss where reels of celluloid trash lie in state. It’s a film that might just end the career of AMADEUS alumni Abraham. But, what a way to go—chewing scenery up with more fury that that chainsaw in SCARFACE! So, BLOOD MONKEY might not be the movie you pick up on a Tuesday to take home and watch transfixed by it’s brilliant nuances—but—it might be the movie you rent on a Friday night with 3 buddies and a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. You know what…better make that two cases!