If you ask me, the chupacabra is one of the most underrated cryptids in zoology. It’s oftentimes cast aside by its bigger brethren Bigfoot and The Lochness Monster. Think about it – besides SyFy’s Chupacabra: Dark Seas, when was the last time you actually saw a movie about the mid-sized goat sucker? That’s why I’m so happy that the press release and screener for Chupacabra Territory came across my desk; it’s a story I’ve been low-key waiting for for years! Here’s little chupy’s chance to shine… and, oh no, it’s a found footage feature? I’m incredibly critical of this style of film-making, so my level of enthusiasm went down right before my viewing. The question remains, did Chupacabra Territory meet my expectations? Read my review below to find out!
We’ve seen this adventure before – several thrill seekers and independent researchers head into the wilderness in search of a mystery, in this case the fabled chupacabra. Everything starts off fun and exciting, but little by little those emotions fade and are replaced by paranoia and terror. Eventually a battle for survival begins as the stranded young people fight a creature that’s evil beyond their wildest dreams. Really, you can switch out the chupacabra for any cryptid – Hell, even The Blair Witch – and the results would still be the same. Luckily, Chupacabra Territory has these minor variables that made it stand out. First, the fact that the FBI was involved with hikers’ disappearance means they know something’s out there. And that gives this flick a small layer of realistic horror.
Secondly, giving the chupacabra its own personality and interests made the movie seem like an episode of “Finding Bigfoot,” which isn’t a bad thing at all. Developing the lure for your creature makes it more than an ominous force lurking in the shadows, it makes it an unwilling character and who knew the chupacabra enjoys the scent of raccoon piss. Matthew McWilliam’s takes the film in a drastic turn about midway through that caught me off guard. I won’t ruin the plot twist for you, but I will say it is completely unexpected and I’m honestly not sure if it works here or not. Everything was going fine for our researchers and then they’re like, “hey, let’s do this,” and then BAM! Plot twist! Again, interesting and original, but I’m not sure if the plot twist works.
Chupacabra Territory is written, directed and produced by Matthew McWilliams with co-producers Christopher Maltauro, Federico Bauder Mantellini, George Troester and Vito Trabucco. Lead cast members include Sarah Nicklin (The Haunting of Alice D), Michael Reed (Exhumed), Alex Hayek, Bryant Jansen and Elliot Book. Together they created a decent picture with genuine hits of creepiness and Blair Witch type of plot that includes a cute but deadly creature. My only complaints are that there are too many shots of nothing and the chupacabra’s silhouette against the tent was a little hokey, though his growl was awesome. This was one of my favorite creature features of 2017 and it would feel right at home on the Chiller channel. Definitely wroth a watch, especially if you’re into cryptids. Final Score: 6.25 out of 10.