Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on September 10th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, January 15th 2008
Director: Joseph Conti
Writers: Michael Ciccolini, Tom Woosley
Cast: Ross Kelly, Stefani Marchesi, Miguel Martinez, Mike Hatfield, Malcolm Madera, Audrey Anderson, Vic Browder, Jocelyn Tucker, Jeff Mocho, Casey Messer.
DVD released: September 13th, 2010
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
A bunch of college students and their professor head out into Mexico’s Baja Peninsula for a spot of desert racing and assorted camping shenanigans. unbeknownst to his students however professor Vazquez is going to take a little detour in the hopes of discovering the lost treasure of the Anasazi – a squad of 1000 fearsome Conquistador soldiers that set out in 1590 to find the legendary El Dorado and were never heard from again. He succeeds pretty damn quickly in finding the lost city of gold but he also unwittingly awakens a dormant curse. The lost army, now a militia of skeleton warriors, are the undead guardians of the treasure and they will stop at nothing to kill those that would plunder their gold.
I’ll get it out of the way quickly – this film is absolutely, mind-numbingly dreadful, terrible beyond belief, just awful. You can move onto another review now without needing to read further, lucky you!
Directed by Joseph Conti, visual effects artist on such films as Men In Black and TV shows such as Xena & Hercules. This is his first time directing and I’m assuming he got the gig because he could deliver some cheap-ass CG shots of skeletons on a budget. The acting is uniformly crap in that deadpan bad-acting way that means we don’t even get to enjoy some unintentional laughs along the way. Our main protagonist is a low-rent Chris Pine lookalike with even less charisma, if that’s possible, and he’s the best of the fetid bunch here. The story is drawn out, meandering, inconsequential and just plain dull. The first chunk of the feature is taken up with a who-gives-a-damn love triangle that goes nowhere perhaps in the hopes that when the walking skeletons do turn up we’ll be so relieved we’ll cheer them on but unfortunately the effects are so very, very bad that most of the time the CG skeletons are not on screen with the actors and when they are it’s a pitiful sight. After watching the same CG clip of the same skeletons for the fifth time (almost like they were cut in from another film) I was getting all misty eyed for the stop motion of Harryhausen (which I’ve never really been a fan of) or hell even Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness puppets would be better than this. Sadly even the blood was poorly created CG – hey maybe if they’d made the actors CG it might have been a good film!
This is stunningly bad filmmaking, avoid at all costs, you have been warned!
1.85:1 anamorphic transfer looks fine – clear image with vivid colors and good, contrast and solid blacks. The stereo English audio track is clean and clear with the awful generic synth soundtrack balanced well with the dialog and ambient soundtrack.