This film makes you feel pretty sad after watching it. There’s simply not much that this film was able to accomplish except leaving you with an empty void. The title wasn’t all that promising anyway, but I like to think that any film with the subtitle “Beast of the Amazon” has got to be pretty hype. It makes you think of Godzilla or some other giant monster. Curucu doesn’t sound all that intimidating though so that might have been a bit of a mistake if we’re being honest here. While it’s certainly not as bad as Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, it’s on that level.
Rock is your average explorer guy who goes around trying to have fun. He hears that a giant monster has been scaring away Indians and now they are considering a return to their old way of life. They’ll move back to their old homes and they will stop adapting to the modern world. Rock can’t have that since he wants to be rich and famous so he agrees to go over there and beat up the monster. Andrea beats him to the punch though so he ends up being her assistant and a friendly Indian by the name of Tumpanico comes along as well in the form of a guide. The three characters prepare themselves for this tricky journey.
So, where to start on how this film turned into a train wreck? Well, there is one aspect that stands out above the rest. The random animal violence doomed this film to mediocrity at best. There are quite a few scenes where we will randomly see an animal destroy another one and the scenes have no rhyme or reason to them. The director was likely trying to buy some time since the film doesn’t have much of a plot, but that’s one of the worst ways that you can pass the time. It is simply not worth it. I think the film could have managed to grab a 3 or maybe a 4 if it was super lucky, but that certainly wasn’t going to happen now. The 4 was a long shot anyway.
The writing is also pretty bad as it tries to bring us all of the really outdated Indian stereotypes that we have grown out of. They all act very barbaric and unintelligent. One of them gropes the main heroine for no reason which was definitely a terrible scene. We also get a pair of scenes where Rock walks up to the Indians and starts punching one of them. The guy was trying to encourage the Indians to run away and Rock couldn’t have that. The Indian doesn’t put up much of a fight and then the story starts to move again. There was no point to either one of these scuffles.
There is another issue with the film that ultimately haunts it just about as much as these other problems. This one’s a spoiler so I recommend skipping this paragraph unless you want to know about it. Are you ready? Prepare yourself! The monster isn’t real. It is just Tumpanico putting on a costume and murdering his fellow Indians to convince them to run away. It explains why it took him so many tries to destroy a lady even when he had the element of surprise and she had her hands full carrying a pot of water. It’s a pretty cheap twist though and you have to ask yourself why he would even wear the costume? It seems like this is a rather terrible way to achieve his vision and not the most effective method either. The monster suit looked decently cool, but we came here to watch a monster, not a guy playing dress up.
As the main character, Rock isn’t any good either. He’s the kind of guy who flirts with everyone and will then flirt with another character while the heroine is still around. Unfortunately, she falls for him anyway, which is quite sad. We even get some scenes with the two of them eating really gross meals including insects, dirt, and “anything that moves” according to the Rock. It makes for some really tragic scenes and Rock doesn’t do anything to show that he could be even a slightly cool character. As it stands, he just brings the rest of the film down with him. He sets the bar low and the film responds by lowering it further. There’s not much to say about Andrea. She allows herself to simply be the trophy for Rock by the end and she negates all of her tough talk by constantly panicking and fainting. I’m waiting for her to actually get tough in the sequel, but luckily we never got another movie to continue this.
The film isn’t long by any means and that is a good thing. It never actually drags on, but the whole thing is just very pointless, which is just as bad. The characters always act scared of the Indians, but play along anyway. It’s clear that Rock only sees them as brutes, but the film only serves to strengthen the notion that he is right, rather than clearing it up. We are even told that the main villain is a Christian although he may have just been humoring the pastor who was there. The pastor didn’t seem all that nice though and it wasn’t a very flattering representation of the religion by this guy. Of course, some people’s definition of Christianity was quite warped back in the day. There were certainly a lot of fakes and posers back then.
The film’s best chance would have been to have stayed in the city instead of going to the jungle. Seeing the other businessmen talk a good game along with the Rock would have been a more entertaining film. Just watching all of the bluster and posturing could have made for a decently good game of mental chess. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere since you need actual writing to have a good strategic match of wits, but it would be a start and still beats the alternative. Better yet, have an actual Kaiju show up with a chessboard. It would definitely be original!
Overall, The only saving grace of the film is the fact that it is barely an hour. You can watch it while eating supper and then quickly try to forget about it. Of course, the most effective course of action is to simply not watch it in the first place. If you want to watch a monster film, just watch one that actually has a monster. Godzilla, Gamera, Beast From 20000 Fathoms, or something like that. Those films stay classy and provide you with a good story. This one just reminds you that a bad plot twist can only make a bad film even worse. Double negatives don’t suddenly turn into positives when it comes to films. The animal violence still boggles my mind though. Why would the film do such a thing? Whyyyyyyyyyyy!