29th Mar2022

‘Jurassic Island’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sarah T. Cohen, Tony Goodall, Nicola Wright, Alistair Stoneman, Jamila Wingett, Ray Whelan, Ricardo Freitas | Written by Dominic Ellis, Tom Joliffe | Directed by Dominic Ellis

What a shocker, another Scott Jeffrey produced horror getting reviewed on Nerdly… I think we must have reviewed at least 80% of Jeffrey’s output across the handful of production companies he has. This time around we’re back in dino territory following Jeffrey’s other Jurassic-themed horrors Dinosaur Hotel and Hatched (with another one, Jurassic Valley also in the can).

Jurassic Island – not to be confused with the UK release of The Final Level: Escaping Rancala, which debuted on DVD under the same name – tells the story of Ava (Sarah T. Cohen) whose father (Tony Goodall) and his partner (played by Nicola Wright) go missing on the hunt for the titular island. Planning an expedition to find them, Ava enlists the help of boyfriend Luke (Alistair Stoneman), her scientist friends Cassie (Jamila Wingett) and Tommy (Ray Whelan), and hires a boat from the ever-drunk sailor Michael (Ricardo Freitas). However once the gang hit the island, they find the place is populated by man-hungry dinosaurs along with other nasty creepy crawlies – some of whom pose more of a threat than the dinosaurs!

Penned by Tom Joliffe – who’s worked on pop culture website Flickering Myth and written a number of genre films including two Tooth Fairy sequels, The Legend of Jack and Jill, The Leprechaun’s Curse and the more recent sci-fi “biblical” horror Reign of ChaosJurassic Island comes from second-time director Dominic Ellis, who has plenty of experience on productions like this having worked as a cinematographer on It Came From Below and one of my favourite Scott Jeffrey productions, Medusa: Queen of the Serpents.

The experience of both writer and director on other low-budget genre films plays a lot in why Jurassic Island works. It’s the kind of film that knows what its audience wants – plenty of action that never lets up, yet adds a touch of humanity, focussing on the human story within the film; in particular Ava’s (Cohen) hunt for her father (weirdly Cohen is credited as Ava in the press notes but Diane on IMDb?!) But of course, this IS a film about dinosaurs, so there’s plenty of dino-chomping action too!

Yet, Jurassic Island doesn’t only give us hungry, human-hunting dinosaurs but also zombie-like, just as bloodthirsty, humans that get infected by strange day-glo leeches that also resides on the titular island. As if being on the bottom of the food chain for our protagonists wasn’t enough! To be fair, Jurassic Island ultimately focuses on THAT subplot rather than the dinos, the infectious slugs and what they do top the people in this story are what provide all the films terror rather than the occasional dino-chase sequence.

Speaking of dinosaurs, the quality of the CGI varies wildly in Jurassic Island. The bigger dinosaurs look great, however there’s an appearance by a raptor-like dinosaur that looks incredibly fake – like mid-90s CGI bad. It doesn’t detract too much from the film but it did make me question why there’s such a variety in quality… Perhaps farmed out to different production companies maybe?

Of the human cast, once again Sarah T. Cohen is the star of the show – as she often is in Scott Jeffrey productions. Not only is her performance the best she also looks and feels most comfortable on-screen acting against the aforementioned CGI dinosaurs. Which is probably down to the fact she’s now appeared in a ton of Jeffrey’s low-budget UK horror productions AND the fact that with those appearances she’s also gained a hell of a lot of experience. Jurassic Island also features Nicola Wright in a small but important role and having her in yet another film, as it does all the Scott Jeffrey productions she’s appeared in, adds some much-needed kudos to the film.

By now you should know what you’re getting from any Scott Jeffrey production – a low-budget but big concept horror – and although the quality varies, seemingly down to which company is set to distribute the film, there’s usually something to enjoy and that’s certainly the case with Jurassic Island.

***½  3.5/5

Jurassic Island is set for a US digital release on April 5th, with a DVD debut a week later on April 12th 2022.


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