Mandrake puts us deep into the rainforest with an expeditionary team led by mercenary Darren McCall (Max Martini). They’re in search of an elusive dagger that belonged to an ancestor of the expeditions founder, Harry Vargas (Benito Martinez). Once located they remove the blade from its tomb only to encounter some dire consequences. The dagger’s removal enacts a horrid half plant, half animal creature to come to life looking for those who would dare remove it. Add into the mix the hostile natives and it looks like McCall’s team has a tough time on their hands getting back to civilisation.
Sadly, Mandrake is a rather dull movie all round. It’s not scary, it’s not creepy and there’s little tension. Most of the parts that should get you on the edge of your seat are spoiled by ultra naff CGI that looks about 15 years old. Heck it looks like they employed an amateur photoshopper in parts. Needless to say then, SFX is not this movies strongsuit.
So what is Mandrake’s strongsuit? Honestly, i have no idea. The acting quality is pretty generic, not bad but not great. Most of the characters are pretty flat and uninspired. Probably the best would be Harry Vargas, you don’t really know what his game is till the end, sadly by the time you do find out what type of guy he is, you’ve likely stopped caring.
There’s a mild amount of action that’s really not that enthralling, nothing we have’nt seen a billion times before. The monster in this flick is basically like something out of The Ruins, a killer shrub, tree. In fact i’d say that those who disliked The Ruins should avoid this movie like the plague.
The general pacing of Mandrake is awkward, it’s all over the place and at times directionality of the characters gets confused, the surroundings all blend in one huge, green backdrop that gets highly tedious after a while.
Even though clearly Mandrake is not my most favorite of movies, it’s not an entire mess. I’ve seen a lot worse believe me, however I’m finding it difficult to recommend this one. If you can catch it on TV (this is another Syfy movie) then by all means go for it but I’d avoid a blind buy and if you do wish to spend your time watching this, don’t start shouting at me to get your spent minutes back. You’ve been warned.
Director: Tripp Reed
Writer: David Ray
Actors: Betsy Russell, Jon Mack, Nick Gomez, J. LaRose
Release Year: 2010