Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Emily Foxler, Nick Mennell, Marc Bacher, Brianna Brown, Hadley Fraser, Maxine Bahns, Lance Henriksen
Directed by Roel Reine
Let me begin this review by posting the opening paragraph from a review for a film called The Tribe that I wrote early last year.
Now here’s a film with a truly strange history that even I haven’t fully pieced together yet. The producers apparently weren’t happy with the initial cut of The Tribe and had some major post-production problems that prevented getting the primary cast back for reshoots. They worked around this problem by simply reshooting the entire movie with an entirely different cast, including Lance Henriksen and Maxine Bahns, and calling that version The Lost Tribe. Weird. I’m sure there are those out there with a better understanding of the situation than I. All I know right now for certain is that the original The Tribe version just got released on DVD in Germany. Not sure when the other version will see the light of day. I do seem to recall reading that After Dark Films picked up North American distribution for The Tribe. That seems only highly appropriate to me because the movie I just watched felt like a motion picture that would fit right at home in the line-up of an After Dark Horrorfest. By that I mean an obviously low budget film, but a good looking one, suffering from pure cookie cutter storytelling, acted and directed competently enough, yet still too damn mundane for its own good.
Even though I didn’t care much for The Tribe and remember so little about it I had to go back and reread my own review to refresh my memory, curiosity got the better of me and led to pick-up an import DVD of this second version just released in Thailand. Turns out this remake is not better or worse than the original. Better in that the actors are less annoying and the pacing improved; worse, if only because the director of The Lost Tribe shot the entire film in daylight, eschewing the nighttime atmosphere of the original’s climax that greatly enhanced the menacing appearance of the outstanding creatures designed by FX artist Barney Burman. The decision to show us more of the monsters and in the light of day was a poor choice.
Again, a group of five shallow human beings are out sailing. Again, they end up shipwrecked on an uncharted island with a tribe of primitive cannibal ape men that this time speak in a deep-voiced language that brings to mind Klingons possessed by Satan.
There are many moments in both versions that will instantly bring to mind familiar scenes from Predator and The Descent. Two different filmmakers and neither were shy about where they draw their inspiration from.
The biggest differences between The Lost Tribe and The Tribe comes in the third act. The Tribe had Jewel Staite tapping into her own primal rage to fight back against the creatures, primarily the tribe leader, a dreadlocked Sasquatch that clearly wanted to rape her even more than it wanted to eat her. Here actress Emily Foxler remains a brutalized victim struggling to survive, constantly making a scared face that looks more as if she’s smelling something rotten, sneaking about and running for her life through the jungle rather than fighting back against her primitive attackers. It works in its own way, but I would definitely say the original’s finale made for more compelling viewing. Both culminate in far too simplistic a manner, though.
There is one other big difference between the two films. Not that big a difference as it turns out. An absolutely ridiculous minor subplot that clearly exists only to justify the casting of Lance Henriksen in order to have an actor of name value to market the film; Henriksen appears briefly as a Catholic assassin sent by the Vatican to kill an anthropologist (a cameoing Maxine Bahns, assuming you consider Maxine Bahns famous enough to classify her tiny amount of screen time as a cameo) before she reveals to the world the existence of these missing links, thus meaning evolution is true and God did not actually create the world in six days. I nearly burst out laughing. First of all, speaking as someone raised Catholic and has lived his whole life in the Bible Belt, I assure you there are far more Protestant and Baptist zealots out there than crazy Catholics willing to pull that trigger to keep evolution from being proven true. Secondly, why even include such “Darwin Code” nonsense if this whole pointless subplot is going to get introduced, scrapped, and forgotten about in all of about three minutes?
2 out of 5
Discuss The Lost Tribe in our forums!