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An expedition led by adventurer Darren McCall and funded by the wealthy Harry Vargas braves the impenetrable jungle to retrieve a fabled bejewelled dagger from an ancient burial ground. But pulling the dagger from its rightful resting place awakens the beast. Part plant and part animal, the massive mandrake awakens thirsty for human blood.
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Top Customer Reviews
That opening is a kind of warning of things to come. Some films thrive on having a low budget. The lack of money behind the picture forces the film-makers to use new and more subtle techniques to tell the story. Not here. This film has no budget and it shows in every scene.
It's about a team of archaeologists, sent somewhere in South America (like the location really matters!) to retrieve something for someone (again, such details are kind of pointless in the scheme of things). However, this `South American' jungle looks suspiciously like some nice grassy fields in America. Plus the `natives' also look a little Caucasian, considering they are supposed to have lived in the hot jungle all their lives.
The acting isn't all bad, but the dialogue is. Just because the film is set in a wood (sorry, jungle), the writers seem to want to make the characters talk like they're out of Predator. Yes, there's something hunting them, but whereas Predator used a monster that was actually there, the makers of Mandrake spent the entire $2.50 budget on some `creepy' CGI tentacles. Woo.
If you like cheesy monster-munching movies, then you probably know plenty out there which will amuse and entertain (try things like Deep Rising, Tremors, or Grabbers to name but a few). Mandrake is not one of them.
It's possible there's an ecological message here; that no good things can come from unending intrusion into the last few wild places left, and messing with it. More than likely it's just a fun excuse for some limb-tearing, but said fun doesn't grow any faster than the fake jungle itself (L.A standing in for the Amazon). It's not a bad film, just not a good one. Just not enough surprises to keep it fertile, while the acting ranges from bitty to overly-solemn at some embarrassing junctures, and there's little impression that these people really are under threat, even though attempts to eviscerate them at close quarters alternatively pleases and annoys with its so-so expectancy. The CGI Mandrake is cute, for some seconds imposing initially, and seeing the beast in its entirety more effective than the close-ups of engineered roots and vines signalling an attack, used for much of the movie.Read more ›
Betsy Russell provides the token eye candy