Written by: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick
A Smashing Good Time
Nicholas Brendon + Jaime Pressly + anthropomorphic evil piñata = one kick ass bad movie. Pinata: Survival Island, aka Demon Island, is a kick-ass midnight creature feature. The monster in this film is an evil GCI piñata that uses a big stick to wack people to death. Oh dear – how fucking awesome is that?
The film starts with a way-too-long flashback to set up the monster and what in normal circles would be referred to as “the plot.” An ancient, pre-Spanish invasion South American tribe is dying of famine and yes, the good old non-specific pestilence. The local piñata maker (because every pre-colonial South American tribe had one) creates two person-shaped piñatas: a devilish man-yata in which to trap the curses and evil spirits, and a good girl-yata to bless the town. The man-yata is given a pig’s heart and a magic tribal stone, a ceremony is performed, and tada! The bad juju is trapped in the clay guy who is floated down the river. As long as he is kept intact, the village will be free of the curses of famine, war, pestilence, and the film career of Yahoo Serious.
Cut to present day, when an unusually small group of college Greeks (the frat kind, not the small Mediterranean island kind), who seem to possibly have been studying nearby (it’s never explained, or even mentioned), come to a tiny island in Mexico for a Cinco de Mayo scavenger hunt. Now I know that with a name like Pinata: Survival Island, this is no-budget film, but have you ever heard of a Greek weekend outing that only eight people showed up to? On my college campus, anyone who even said “tequila” was suddenly surrounded by frat boys.
Nicholas Brendon, whom we all fondly remember as nerdy Xander from Buffy, is the leading man, a brainy frat boy, well-versed in South American history for no good reason. He is familiar with the legend, which comes in handy when its time for monster killing. Jaime Pressly is his ex-girlfriend, who’s apparently good for running fast and being hot. The brilliance if the film begins: the four couples are handcuffed together (oh the awesomeness never stops), and of course the exes are stuck together. The teams are set loose upon the island to collect as many pairs of underwear (hung around the island by the referee couple, alumni of the school) as they can in a few hours. Stashed around are also piñatas full of “refreshing beverages.” Because what good is an undie scavenger hunt if you can’t pound tequila and puke in a paper mache donkey head?
One couple unlocks their hand cuffs (sin one), smokes weed (sin two), and then kisses (ladies and gentleman, we have our monster awakening douche bags). They find Mr. Ugly Man-yata in a pond and decide to crack him open. They hit him until he splinters, and, look at me I’m so shocked, the man-yata awakens and starts the killing. And it’s about damn time. The Grumpy Clay Creep offs the Greeks one by one in a style benefiting a vengeance-minded piñata. He bashes a man in the head with a long wooden stick. Heh heh. He uses his big stick to break the arms and the legs of a victim (lackadaisically played by Garrett Wang, aka Ensign Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager) before clobbering him. Hee hee hee. Then he hangs dead bodies and their detached parts from the branches of the trees. This movie just reached amazing. So people die, Brendon decides to fight back, the bickering couple decides that they belong together, you get the idea. Standard monster movie stuff, but told in a “this is so funny I just peed” format. One guy is even killed when the man-yata grabs him by the little pledges and yanks them off. And then we see them in his hand. It just keeps getting better and better.
I highly recommend this film if taken with a six pack and a couple friends, even a glass of wine and an otherwise boring night alone. It’s medium on the gore, high on the fun, and the laughs just don’t stop. I can only hope for a sequel: Bastille Day- Attack of the Flying Fish.