Ah, SyFy Channel. When I feel ill, your films provide the barest minimum entertainment possible while not being too complicated or difficult for the fevered brow to understand. And when they have two stars from my favourite TV shows of all time, then that’s just the icing on the cake.
You don’t really need to know a lot about this – an evil scientist captures a chupacabra and attempts to transport it back to civilization in the hold of a large cruise ship, by bribing the dock workers to sneak it on. They immediately open the mystery box to see what’s inside, it kills them and then goes on a bit of a rampage.
Nice and simple, eh? Chances are, if you’ve heard of this film at all, it’ll be to do with one of the stars – John Rhys Davies, of “Sliders”, “Lord of the Rings” and every low-budget film of the last 15 years; and Giancarlo Esposito, who went from roles like this to Gus Fring in “Breaking Bad”. They both have a good time, especially Esposito, who relishes the opportunity to be an unhinged bad guy.
This was apparently mostly filmed on the islands of Turks & Caicos, and it seems all their actors were on holiday on other caribbean islands, because everyone apart from the three main actors was terrible. You get extras staring at the camera, dubbing everywhere and shockingly wooden line readings, even by SyFy Channel 2005 standards. There are a few scenes where it cuts away from Esposito a little too late, and you can see him start another line that they obviously chose to cut out. It’s just pretty shambolic all round, really. Oh, and they use stock footage of a meerkat – hey dumdums, do you know where meerkats actually live?
Chupa is a guy in a rubber suit, mostly, and can walk on ceilings, that kind of thing. He looks fine, and the special effects, even if it’s a bit too much blood-spatter-on-a-wall style, are okay too. There’s also a decent amount of humour in it – the thief subplot has a couple of genuinely funny moments. Ultimately, it’s just an incredibly formulaic, surprisingly poorly acted SyFy film that just happens to have two of my favourite actors.
Rating: thumbs down
PS. I suppose we ought to do a “is this the SyFy Channel’s best chupacabra movie?”, then discuss with ourselves how sad it is that we’re even having to ask that question. 2013’s “Chupacabra vs. The Alamo” is, I think, even worse than this, having pretty much nothing to recommend it.