The Trek

Director: Chanchai Pantasi
Stars: Danai Smuthkochorn, Paul Visut Carey, Eilidh MacQueen
Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Year: 2002

This one is bad cheesy fun that you can enjoy on some lame midnight showing level. The filmmakers and actors seem to be taking themselves all too seriously in this film that treads on the edges of exploitation but never makes the full dive into it. That I suppose is the major problem with it – everyone is as earnest as if they are in an Ibsen play – but this is a jungle horror film folks – have some fun! This genre has certain expectations and this film meets a few of them with man-eating critters and a giant snake – but it was totally lacking in any sexual pizzazz. As a friend said after viewing this – “how can you make a jungle exploitation film and the women keep their clothes on!” My sentiments exactly – you can’t go halfway in these kinds of films – it feels like Merchant and Ivory doing exploitation – much too polite.

A group of fresh-faced do-gooder young students go into the jungle to look for a rare hairy elephant so that they can take pictures of it. The villagers all have that terrified “don’t go in there” look on their faces, but these all too innocents go in anyway – I mean it’s not everyday you can photo a hairy elephant. Soon things go crsshshhs in the night and one fellow becomes dinner for a hoard of centipedes that squiggle into every orifice he has until only raw meat is left on the bones. The guide doesn’t do much better and soon these young people are on their own. Turn back? Of course not. There is plenty more insect grub to be had here. Most of these horrors are CGI effects by the way and not all that convincing, but still fun.
When not peeling off voracious ants, hungry centipedes and giant face sucking spiders off their bodies, a gigantic killer snake who is well fed on amphetamines dropped in the river (we know this because the brown burlap bag has AMPHETAMINES on the front – drug dealers don’t want to make a mistake and take the dirty laundry by mistake) attacks the group and starts devouring them. The suspense lays of course in trying to predict who will make it – the two falangs (westerners) – hmmm – highly unlikely – I have seen enough Asian films to know that white people rarely survive intact, the annoying guy who wants to lead the group (what do you think?), the two cute females (geez I hope so) or the obvious hero of the film. The rest I can’t really remember as they were gone – munch munch - much too quickly.
Neither the Thai DVD or VCD have English subs. I was able to catch it in a special viewing with subs. A HK release does have subs.

My rating for this film: 5.5