Demon Island or as my DVD case calls it Pinata Survival Island is a 2002 Horror/Thriller. Written and Directed by brothers Scott and David Hillenbrand, the two even have small cameo as a pair of detectives at the end of the film. This is one of those so bad it becomes good movies. The film pairs Jamie Pressly, who I always remember from Joe Dirt and Nicolas Brendon, who is forever Xander Harris from Buffy to me. Honestly I’m not big for monster on the loose kind of film and had the pool of survivors been smaller I could of seen this a slasher. It skirts so close that I debated with reviewing the film, but as the ending sets it self just aside enough for me not to count it.
The film opens 500 years ago, a primitive tribe is cursed. To lift this curse the tribe’s shaman created a clay pinata and place all the sins of the tribe within it, lifting the curse and casts it adrift. But now should the pinata ever be broken it would release a great evil. Jump to current day via 2002 a group of college students attend an annual Cinco de Mayo party/treasure hunt. Each of the boys is handcuffed to one another, Kyle (Nicolas Brendon) is handcuffed to his ex girlfriend Tina (Jamie Pressly). The treasure hunt gets underway for a $20000 prize after Kyle drops a bit of a knowledge bomb. The two after being at odds decided to put aside the break up and try and win. At this time another pair finds the pinata from the opening and try break it open thinking its part of the treasure hunt. The two manage to crack the pinata bring it to life, upon which it sets about a task of killing everyone. The students are forced to try and destroy the monster, resulting in a fiery climax.
This is a great example of how bad special effects can really mess up a movie, not that this movie wasn’t a mess to begin with. When originally filmed the monster was an actor in a rubber suit, so they added effects in post production that were intended to make the monster scarier. I won’t say that they failed miserably, but they most defiantly missed the mark they were aiming for. The CGI forms of the monster were confusing at best, as the shape shifting aspects didn’t feel like they meshed well with the story concept. This film would of benefited greatly from some good old fashion practical effects, but I could say that for most films.
The core actors, Brendon and Pressly don’t give their best performances and I can’t say I blame them. The script is predictable, full of bad jokes and the film only barley utilizes their talents. So I can see how going in neither brought their A game. although they could of at least fielded their B game. They lack chemistry, everything from their bickering to their reconciliation feels forced. The side characters are entertaining at times, but never get the screen time to really develop on their characters. In fact the only character I really enjoyed was Monica (Casey Fallo) and even she wasn’t all that developed.
So what are my final thoughts? I don’t actually have a lot more to say, I do really enjoy the premise and everything goes so sideways that it’s hard not get enjoyment from this film from a laughably bad stand point. I have yet to find a die hard fan of this movie and I don’t think that’s likely to happen anytime soon. The script is generic, bordering on boring, while some of the crazy moments such as the POV chase scene involving the pinata and a small motorized vehicle. Most defiantly evoke more than a casual chuckle. So if you’re looking for horror flick to toss on and make fun with your friends while you share a six pack, I would very much suggest this one. Just don’t take it seriously because it often feels like to me like the people involved in it’s creation never did. So Demon Island gets a dull 5/10