Mandrake (Formerly Unearthed)
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Mandrake follows a former soldier who leads a group of archaeologists through the jungles of Latin America, in search of an ancient relic. Along the way, they must deal with angry local tribesmen, a supernatural forest, and a cursed tree monster.
The good news is that the film is actually shot well, with decent cinematography. Mandrake was filmed in my home state, so the visuals are appealing (though it's easy to see it's a Louisiana forest rather than a South American jungle.)
The bad news is that the story is all over the place. At first it's difficult to understand the relationship between the local tribe and the possessed jungle, and there are more than a few plot holes that keep things confusing.
There's an awful lot of unimpressive CGI used in the film, which gives it a low-budget feel. Thought the lighting effects in the film were great (especially the torch scenes), it's painfully obvious whenever there's a shot that involved a green screen.
Most of the cast is made up of obscure TV actors, with the exception of Benito Martinez (David Aceveda from The Shield), Max Martini from The Unit, and the amazingly beautiful Betsy Russell from most of the Saw movies.
Mandrake reminded me a bit too much of Congo, especially with respect to one character's unexplained obsession with finding a certain relic. For the most part, none of the characters have any depth, it's hard to sympathize for any of them.
I give Mandrake points for at least coming up with a slightly unique story, though it loses points for weak writing, overuse of CGI, and unimpressive acting performances. Worth a rent if you have some time to kill, but I'd wouldn't recommend buying this on DVD.
There weren't too many egregious flaws except for the bit about this taking place in a jungle. The credits say otherwise: it was filmed entirely on location....in Louisiana! Far cry from a jungle, few trees or anything else for anyone or anything to hide behind but they still kept getting surprised by things popping up in the `jungle.' The all important dagger didn't look all that special either. I've seen fancier dinnerware!
Okay, I was wrong; it did illustrate an important lesson to be learned. If you're going to open a `tomb', read the small print on the outside of it first: especially if it's a WARNING.
I thought it was a hoot and as such, it's a keeper!
We have the standard characters for plant food: the stalwart mercenary sent to find an ancient knife; the sexy anthropologist; the nerdy historian; the heartless billionaire who wants the knife and assorted natives who talk funny.
The CGI effects aren't trend-setting but not awful. Not having great expectations, I wasn't disappointed with MANDRAKE. Max Martini and SAW's Betsy Russell give professional perfprmances and the film moves fairly fast. Will I remember it six months from now? Remember what? OOOps!!
Acting from people you've never heard of or that no studios are interested in (translation: over the hill).
Directing was adequate given their challenge was filming within a mile or so of what was basically a Boy Scouts camp in some southern US forest.
Story retold, perhaps a dozen times, in the past 50 years of a mixed group of scientists and profiteers looking for a lost relic with consequences when they find it. Not too original there!
Native Peoples that were clothed with armor (huh!) and body/facial paint that looked like it came out of televised wrestling or the NFL. Truly, comedic relief.
Straight to DVD to make up for the $20,000 in production costs.
Watch Shaun the Sheep afterwards to cleanse yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie if you like ghost that or trees its about an indian cure it really was pretty good I enjoyed it so will youPublished 15 months ago by Jeff
There really isn't a mandrake in the story. There is a plant that kills people, a cross between Treebeard and that thing on "Evil Dead. Read morePublished on August 13, 2011 by The Movie Guy
This isn't it. A friend of mine rented this piece of garbage and I watched it. I'm glad I didn't rent it. Read morePublished on July 29, 2011 by K. Harper
well its kinda different in the story line on new creature but same oh stuff. maybe it gets better on the second viewing that does happen sometimesPublished on May 6, 2011 by J. ta
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