release year: 2005
genre: monster movie
viewing setting: home DVD, 5/3/05
synopsis: A strange, murderous beast gets loose on a cruise ship.
impressions: This was pretty damn entertaining, especially considering its low budget and lack of major star power. The acting was generally decent, there were lenty of monster-caused deaths and gore, and some humor as well (consider: a squad of Navy SEALs sprays a room with machine-gun fire, and everything is shredded except for a large melon sitting prominently on a table.) Some CGI is used; most exterior nighttime shots of the cruise ship are CGI, as well as some shots of the monster (while, oddly, others are a guy in makeup.) The Navy SEALs here don't look too tough, given their goofy helmets, but their captain is cool - when told to abort the mission, he pretends radio interference and runs off to help his men.
body count: 23 humans, 1 annoying dog
something to watch for: At 1:07:20, one of the SEALs finally realizes what the viewer has known all along: "Commander, this thing is bulletproof!"
something this movie has that no other movie has: I'll give you two: 1) a cross-dressing thief/con man being menaced by a humanoid monster and screaming like a girl, and 2) a woman using martial arts kicks against said monster.
acting: John Rhys-Davies (Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Gimli in Lord of the Rings) is the ship's captain, and he almost sounds like Sean Connery sometimes. Dylan Neal (who seems to have been a regular on Dawson's Creek) does a good job as the no-nonsense male lead. Chelan Simmons is the female lead, perky and animated but with no real skills to offer in the attempts to stop the chupacabra. Giancarlo Esposito is the mysterious scientist who knows all about the monster but has his own motives.
final word: Well done low-budget monster movie, worth seeing.
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