Surely one doesn't toss something called Blood Monkey into their DVD player with the expectation of something brilliant in return, but there's stupid and there's stupid. And Robert Young's Blood Monkey (or is it BloodMonkey?) is the second kind of stupid. The extra-stupid kind. But fans of bad cinema should definitely take note: Not only will you see a monkey movie with virtually NO MONKEYS in it, but you'll also serve witness to (yet) another of F. Murray Abraham's overwhelmingly hammy performances. Plus the dialog is rotten, the actors are bad, and the FX are hilarious. Welcome to Blood/Monkey, baby!
We open with a random attack in which we see nothing at all. Then we jump over to a half-dozen young grad students (an archaeologist, a botanist, a chemist, and I think a ... gym teacher?), all of whom are as instantly tiresome as they are stupid. And that's not me being unkind. The appropriate word IS "stupid," because here's what these oh-so-brilliant students do:
1. They wander into the jungle at the request of a professor they don't know and have never met.
2. They stumble onto a path that simply dead-ends, so they all sit down.
3. They agree to work with the professor (who, mind you, is clearly insane from the word go) and join him on a trek into an uncharted valley.
4. They continue to work with the old nutcase, despite the fact that A) he's clearly and obviously a nutcase, B) he travels with a mute Asian assassin woman, C) they're positive he's a liar and D) pretty damn sure he's a murderer, too.
So about fifty-some minutes into the movie, the dolts realize "Hey, we were just invited here to serve as BAIT," which is pretty annoying because you, the viewer, will have figured that out by twenty-some minutes into the movie. And it's not like the scenery's all that hot.
The uber-maniacal and ultra-unique BloodMonkey sees in red-vision, so get used to a lot of that crimson lens hooey. (As if Predator wasn't twenty years old at this point, right?) Ah, and one of the (more annoying) characters is toting around a video camera, so get ready for a bunch of sloppy "first-person" footage that adds nothing but extra running time. Also prepare for a whole lot of carping, whining, nattering, and blithering. And that's just the guys! The female characters have it even worse. By the end of the flick, the two remaining ladies are left to shiver and cower beneath a tree while the menfolk wander off to get BloodMonkeyed. It'd all be just too familiar and silly to appreciate...
...but then there's the spectacular F. Murray, chomping away at the cheap jungle scenery, snipping and snapping at everyone in shouting distance, and basically having a grand old time as he delivers a patently perfect performance. And he gets progressively more outlandish as the movie goes on! I haven't been this moved by ol' F. M. Abraham since he played Cyrus Kriticos in 13 Ghosts!
So obviously you know what you're looking for if you pick up and rent / purchase Blood Monkey, and I can confirm that (at the very least) it has a lot of the components that make a cheapie horror flick "so bad it's good." Heck, it's worth a $1.49 rental just for the Abraham performance alone. And really, you simply won't believe how dumb, gullible, and (yes) stupid the BloodMonkey victims turn out to be. Bottom line: It's the only movie you'll ever see that offers the following piece of dialog: "That rain is urine!"
Random info: Blood Monkey is the first in the Maneater Series from RHI Films. In the Spider's Web is also available, and (since it stars Lance Henriksen) most definitely deserves its own review. Next up? The aptly titled Maneater, starring Gary Busey and Black Swarm with Robert Englund. Can't wait.