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Film Review: THE JURASSIC GAMES

Yep, The Jurassic Games is just what you’re thinking – a loose mashup of The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park. Maybe throw The Running Man in there.

High Octane Pictures Presents The Jurassic Games

The Jurassic Games movie poster

I’ll start by saying that anyone going into to a film like this expecting super high-end production and deep character development probably shouldn’t be watching a film like this. That’s right, I’m looking at you, snobbish IMDb regulars. When I saw the current rating of 3.8 I knew this was gonna be a wicked cheezy good time ride.

The particulars…

The Jurassic Games was written by Ryan Bellgardt (Gremlin, Army of Frankensteins) & Galen Christy (consulting producer Gremlin), and directed by Bellgardt. Ryan also snags credit as a producer, animator, and visual effects supervisor. Pretty impressive, don’t ya think?

The film stars Adam Hampton, Katie Burgess, Ryan Merriman, Perrey Reeves, Erika Daly, Tiger Sheu, Luke Wyckoff, Dylan Cox, Sidney Flack, Kyle Penington, Rett Terrell, Cate Jones, Gary Frazier, and a host of others.

About the movie…

In the near future, 10 death row convicts are forced to compete in a virtual reality game that pits them against dinosaurs and each other. Sure it’s VR but the catch is if you die in the game you die in the real world via lethal injection. Win the game, win your freedom.

Our protagonist, Anthony Tucker (Hampton), a father of two, is falsely accused of murdering his wife. While volunteering for the games is an admission of guilt, Tucker sees it as his only chance at freedom. The rest of the volunteers are just bad, bad people.

Check out the trailer:

My take on the film…

I love dinosaurs and I love survival horror so I’m a bit biased. It was an enjoyable watch despite lacking the violence/gore found in many films of this type. I expected hardened killers and dinosaurs to inflict way more damage, way more often. My primary bitch would be that there were NOT ENOUGH dinosaurs! In a film titled “Jurassic” anything, I expect tons of dino carnage.

That said, a T-Rex makes a kill within the first 5 minutes, technically, before the games go live. We even get an instant replay of the incident a couple of minutes later. Unfortunately, there’s a 30-minute gap before the dinosaurs, this time Raptors, claim another victim. But speaking of dinosaurs, the CGI did not suck at all for a film w/o Spielberg’s budget. If you find fault with it just pretend that’s the way VR dinosaurs look, ya nitpicking bastard.

In the space between kills we learn that the games are protested every year. But this time around a group plans to disrupt the show live on air ala Death Race 2000. Oh, and I guess The Running Man did that too. We also get to meet the people running the games. Namely, ‘The Host’ (Merriman), the director, Savannah (Reeves), and the show’s correspondent, Laura (Daly)

As a host, Merriman’s character is dead lame and I longed for Killian (Richard Dawson) from The Running Man. However, while “not on camera” he plays an excellent self-absorbed dick that you will love to hate. Reeves portrays a straight up bitch as Savannah who’s only in it for the ratings, stating…

“Our viewers don’t care about tension. They just want to see the contestants die horribly.”

On the other hand, Daly’s character, Laura, appears to have a conscience and believes Tucker is innocent. She also doesn’t seem to be into the games all that much. Hmmm? Better keep your eye on her. Needless to say, Savannah and Laura are not the tightest of colleagues. I found myself gravitating toward Laura. Sure, she’s cute and all but I just had a gut feeling that she was as important as any of the contestants.

Here’s a wicked cool promo clip:

How about those contestants?

Remember my “deep character development” statement earlier. Yeah, I found most of the contestants forgettable. Even our main guy Tucker is boring as all get out. I realize he’s innocent and doesn’t want to kill anyone but whatever. The main antagonist, Joy (Burgess), calls him a pussy lol but then again she’s pretty tough and really angry. Yeah, she has issues. I wish her character wasn’t so shallow, though.

Truth be told, the crew running the game stands out over most of the participants. But it doesn’t matter cuz I’m with Savannah on this – I just want to see the contestants die horribly. If I was forced to choose I would go with Albert the cannibal (Wyckoff) and Ren the contract killer (Sheu). Ren, in particular, was the most developed character, IMHO. Could be he’s just the best actor of the bunch or maybe I was just fascinated by his martial arts standoff against the Raptors, IDK?

The Jurassic Games contestants

All in all, if you like less than polished Syfy-style flicks, dinosaurs, and/or survival games you’ll probably dig this one. I know I did. If anything ya gotta throw Ryan Bellgardt some kudos! But as proven by some, it’s not for those who are too anal to enjoy life… much less true indie horror/sci-fi filmmaking 😉

Thanks to Uncork’d Entertainment THE JURASSIC GAMES hits VOD on June 12, 2018, and DVD on July 3, 2018. Will you be watching? Let us know in the comments and across social networks.

Wicked lover of indie horror. Author, composer, screenwriter, and web designer. Indestructible Navy veteran with a cybernetic heart and a metal head.

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