June 29, 2003

Piñata: Survival Island (2002)

When you realise that this is just "Friday the 13th" but with teens trapped on an island instead of being in a summer camp (and being menaced by a demon hidden inside a clay pinata instead of Jason) it isn't quite such a preposterous idea for a movie as it first appears. Having said that, I wasn't overly impressed by it at all.

A long spoken exposition of the origin of the pinata demon wastes a good ten minutes at the start and gets a bit boring. It could have been over in a third of the time, but, obviously, someone liked the visuals.

Anyway, we find that all the suffering of a red indian (or whatever they are called nowadays) village was magically encased in a clay pinata... hmmm... obviously it's going to escape one day or there will be no more story.

The film is, unfortunately, simply a teen slasher. Here a bunch of fraternity and sorority house members go to an island for a competition where they are handcuffed together as couples and have to search the island for pieces of underwear! Who makes this stuff up? Well, I suppose they had to think of some plot device to get them to split up and wander the island.

Two of them find the big clay pinata, hit it with a stick and, then, of course, it comes to life and starts killing them in various gruesome ways. One of the best scenes involves emasculation. Yeah, the guy loses his nuts! Unfortunately, the CGI animation of the pinata demon is so poorly done that there's nothing scary in this film at all.

It's nice to see Nicholas Brendon getting some work again after Buffy but he's too old to play a teenager now and he's just no longer Xander. I also noticed that he is trying to look "badass" by having a crap shoulder tattoo and one under his armpit (why?). Oh dear, he's yet another idiotic LA fashion victim!

Jaime Pressly, who plays Earl's ex-wife, is also in it as the main eye candy and it is interesting to see her in a completely different role but it isn't that interesting.

The other characters are also so stereotypical and two-dimensional that they are all instantly forgettable.

I have to mention the CGI again. Just think of the monsters in "Doom" the computer game (but not the movie) - and by "Doom" I mean the original blocky version not with the glossy graphics available on the latest consoles - and that's what the pinata demon in this thing looks like. It's worse than a jerky animated gif! It hasn't even got the quality of a Hercules or Xena monster!

So there you have it, there is very little suspense, nothing to make you jump, no realistic gore and one of the stupidest looking animated monsters ever created.

I really don't think you should watch this unless you fancy Nicholas Brandon or Jaime Pressly and even then it will still disappoint you.

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