(Plot:A group of teens participate in a University sponsored scavenger hunt on a remote island. But when two of them awaken an evil totem, the killing begins, with their chances of survival being slim to none.)
Lara Boyd Rhodes,
(My thoughts:When one settles in to watch a movie entitled "Pinata:Survival Island", one has no clue what to expect. Surprisingly enough, after a movie which I thought was gonna involve a paper machet party favor picking off a bunch of teens, was over, I was pleasantly surprised at what an entertaining (although wildly ludicrous) ride it turned out to be.)
(My review:A montauge is given at the start of the movie about an ancient village, that suffered from sickness, and famine. The village leader thought this was brought about by the sins of the villagers. In turn, he created a large clay totem,(the pinata), and held a ceremony where he cleansed the souls of his people, and put all the bad energy into the pinata, before casting it off into the sea never to be seen again. Fast forward many years later, some kids on a university sponsored scavenger hunt (where they hunt bags of panties of all things), arrive on this island, the same island where the village once was all those years ago. The group of teens is very diverse, ranging from black, to latino,/mexican and caucasian, one thing I liked about the movie right off the bat. They even managed to score the asian dude from "Star Trek:Voyager" to be in this movie. Some other notable cast members are Eugene Byrd who was in "8 Mile" and the horrid "Anacondas", the lovely Jamie Pressley,Xander from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and Harvey from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch". The kids do some trivia, some wise cracking, and some drinking (usual teen stuff) before they are paired up for the scavenger hunt. The subplot of this movie is that Nicholas Brendans character Kyle and Jamie Pressleys character Tina are ex bf&gf who apparently because he caught her kissing some other guy, are now broken up. Thus when they are paired together for the hunt (handcuffed to each other), neither is too happy about it. So when does the trouble start you ask? Well the goofy chick Lisa gets paired up with Bill (who she keeps calling Bob as sort of a running gag before hes 86ed minutes later by the pinata). Once they are in the clear, he breaks out a key, to uncuff them, and they proceed to get stoned. Lisa finds the Pinata which was seen at the beginning of the movie, caught between a large tree branch, thus she pulls it out of the water. Bill tries to find something to crack it open with. Why would they do something like this? Well before they were sent off in pairs, the contest leaders told them there'd be some pinatas hanging in the woods with some choice beverages inside them. However, it's pretty obvious that this particular pinata looks way different from your usual every day run of the mill pinata. Bill manages to crack it open with a rock, and the eerie sounds that follow this action give the pinata time to pick up a large clubbing stick, and escape while Bob and Lisas backs are turned. Bob is beaten to a pulp by the Pinata, but Lisa manages to escape. As she escapes the Pinata takes Bills soul. I thought this was a pretty cool antagonist for that reason. The jist is, every victim the Pinata kills, it takes their soul, thus giving it superior abilities. It can transform itself from totem to minotaur, to aerial, and the last phase 2 headed aerial, which we see near the climax of the movie. Following Bobs death is a pretty funny scene where Lisa whos visibly shaken by what just happened, tries to explain Bobs demise to two of her fellow competitors. They don't buy her story, so Lisa takes off back to camp. It really doesn't make much of a matter since minutes later, these two become victims of the enraged pinata now come to life. Lisa finally arrives back at camp, and spills the story to Paul and Monica (This is another funny scene because she calls Bill Bob again but is corrected by Paul). After Lisas story about a Pinata killing Bill, Paul and Monica head off on their RVs to check it out, sparing us the usual adult way of thinking in these movies, where they put down the frightened teenager for drinking too much booze or smoking too much dope. They find Tina and Kyle, and explain to them whats happened before stopping the contest and sending both back to the camp, and instructing them to take the rafts and sail back to campus. By this time though, the pinata in an awfully clever action, has ravaged the rafts to pieces, thus ensuring no one escapes the island. Kyle, Tina, and Lisa survey the damage once they arrive at the beach. Afterwards, they eventually find Bill strung up in a tree, looking like he was the victim of a steamroller parade. Meanwhile the Pinata takes out another couple using the ole trojan horse trick. Seeing as how each pair is handcuffed to each other, the angry totem pretty much has an easy time with it's victims. Paul and Monica are attacked by the Pinata as they are riding their RVs back to the camp. Monica manages to survive barely. This is the scene where we get our first look at the pinatas minotaur phase. One couple Doug and Carmen, manage to make it back to camp safely though. The next morning, the group of so far survivors decide to go looking for their friends,despite not everyone being all for the idea. The pinata picks off most of the group due to the panicking of a few playing right into it's hands. After Kyle finds a shaken Monica and manages to save Tina who was being pursued by the pinata, he formulates a plan, but in order for it to work, he needs gasoline. Thus all three set out to find the crashed RV's and siphen the gas from them. The plan? To basically catch the pinata in a bagged&rope trap, and set it on fire. Oddly enough, no one realizes that this plan won't work due to the fact that...A POTATOE SACK ISN'T STEEL PEOPLE, IT'S NOT IMPERVIOUS TO FIRE!The angry pinata falls out of the flaming bag, and clocks Monica with it's club. Despite the totally stupid plan failing miserably, Tina and Kyle manage to blow the pinata up using a malatof cocktail of sorts. Thus they both survive (including Monica oddly enough despite the Mike Tysonish shot she takes to the jaw and face area).
(Pros:The movie gets points from me for it's unique antagonist, great overall score, and likeable characters. You kind of feel sorry formost of the kids, considering they don't piss you off after 1 minute of knowing them like in most horror movies of this kind. Also the gruesome and gory kills were a big plus. This was one pissed off pinata. We have one guy whos bashed to death by a club, a girl and guy who are beaten to death with a shovel, one guy whos arm is broken skin and all by a club shot, one guys balls are literally ripped from his body, and one girl has her throat slashed in mid swing by the pinata using some sort of blade. The Lisa character was very funny with her reactions to everything going on around her. Not to mention hot. Most of the chicks in this film were pretty hot actually. The guy from voyager and the young blonde woman did well in their roles also. Particularly because they weren't written as typical teen hating adults. Lastly, Nicholas Brendan did a pretty good job playing a sort of badass hero character.)
(Cons:Some things the pinata did didn't make sense. It had the chance to kill Lisa 2 times, upon the second occasion it ran off from her like it was scared. Also with all it's power, why hang behind and pick off stragglers when it could've taken them all out at once near the end of the movie? Killing off the Lisa character in such a stupid manner kind of bugged me. She was pretty much the smart one during most of the film, but 1 dumb move which seemed out of place with her character got her killed. Lastly, what was up with the yellow and orange blood?)
(Overall: A cheesey, and very entertaining B movie. It's more of a monster/slasher rather than totally one or the other. Worth a view indeed.)