Danny Trejo returns, albeit briefly, in a monster movie which starts off hitting all the right notes, but struggles to go the distance.
The films opens with a group of mercs entering a Taliban controlled town in Afghanistan. Their target, a set of trucks loaded with Colonel Gadhafi’s gold. Armed with superior fire power and goofy one liners the team quicky secure their target and haul ass to a nearby cave. With similar objectives we quickly switch to a team of US marines who don’t fair quite as well with ambushing the enemy. Upon a retreat they find themselves hunkering down in the same cave as their less morally aligned counterparts. It is in this cave that they quickly realise that they are not alone as the “Afgan Sasquatch” Karnoctus is stalking them.
Now before anyone gets too excited, ‘The Decent’ this is not! This film is a schlock creature feature along the lines of the many (many) no-budget releases to be released recently. Stealing, ahem, paying homage, to/from a whole host of fan favourites the film begins strong. There’s some nerding out, bro style banter from the marines, plus some ‘Alien’s’ call outs once things start to go belly up. There’s plenty of goofy inuendo, and hell, even poster boy Danny Trejo’s character enters dressed in a Burka! It’s all good stuff. The creature isn’t shown too often early on, but what we do see lets you know the movie isn’t going to be taking itself too serious anytime soon.
Until it does…
…but more on that in a moment.
The creature design is ok. I am not going to lie, its weird furry glowing eyed suit design, coupled with a predator style vision FX does come across a little half ass. I get it was going for the campy monster get up, but despite its intriguing name, there is little unique about Karnoctus. Thankfully though, there are some scenes of violence which offer limited, but much needed gore effects. There isn’t too much CGI used either, with the lo-fi stock visual effects reserved for special moments of OTT kill-shots.
So far, so good. I enjoyed the tongue in cheek feel the movie was going for, hell I was even digging the movies hip-hop opening score. However, at the obligatory 90-minute runtime Prey: The Legend of Karnoctus simply ran out of steam; after about an hour.
After being stuck in a cave with a dwindling set of single pun characters the film struggles to keep pace with itself. What initially began as a fun movie, with quirky one liners and brisk editing though varied set pieces descends into tedium. In a similar vein to my viewing interest, the characters too seemed to quickly lose patience with their scenario, kicking the fun party atmosphere into an argument focussed downer in the movies later half, with the editing becoming shaky as Karnoctus stalked the group through the increasingly samey tunnels.
At this point the movie follows the same cliched monster movie plots as you’ve seen time and time again. One by one, our ragtag bunch of ultimate bad-asses start to offer themselves up in senseless acts of heroism to save the last couple of survivors – who we are supposedly to care more for than the rest of the beast’s victims?
Needless to say, I didn’t, and what had started as a jovial jog into the rubber suited clutches of Karnoctus, turned into a tedious slog out back to reality. A bit of a shame really.
Overall, I can imagine that this movie might do enough to win over fans of z-grade monster movies, and for the first half it had me to. Aside from the obvious cameo of Danny Trejo and a whole spattering of other recognisable casts from other movies (such as Kevin Grevioux from ‘Underworld’ and Nick Chinlund as seen in Con-Air and Chronicles of Riddick), this movie set itself up as a good time. Sadly, the good times didn’t last, and, although far from a complete washout, I think the movie had more than run its course by the time the credits roll. That said, however, watch the trailer, with these types of movies your millage may vary!