“Chupacabra Territory” (2016): Confusing Liberties with Lore Drag Down Found-Footage Effort

I always try to root for non-theatrical, low-budget  films because oftentimes, maximum effort is put into them, although low budgets, new directors or  writers, or lack of star power can create an uphill battle. That being said, I ignored the warning postings and ventured into Chupacabra Territory.  Taking liberties with a film is fine; as a matter of fact, that’s what films do: take liberties on reality. Said liberties should add enrichment to the film and enjoyment to the viewer. Neither of those things happened with this movie’s take on chupacabra lore.

Chupacabra Territory  is about  friends Amber (Sarah Nicklin), Joe (Michael Reed), and Morgan (Alex Hayek), and their cameraman Dave (Bryant Jansen). The group decides to investigate livestock mutilations that have been occurring; the cattle  have been drained of their blood and then castrated. Viewers are allegedly watching  the found footage recovered from their trek. Along with the main characters, we get some of the normal tropes we usually see in these types of films, including random hikers who like to get naked for no other reason than to attract male viewers  who want to see a naked female. We also get a  bumbling ranger who is an exact duplicate of Farva from Super Troopers. I was waiting for him to ask if there was spit in his cola.

I am interested  in the whole chupacabra mythology. We see grainy footage from time to time and discover some remains of what may be a chupacabra, but no one has taken one into captivity. For those  unfamiliar with Chupacabra, the name translates to “goat sucker.” Chupacabra is a cryptozoological  creature said to exist in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the United States. Usually, they are depicted as canine-looking animals with an elongated snout and sharp teeth for chomping into their  victims and sucking their blood. Less  frequently, chupacabras  are depicted as alien looking creatures. Neither version of them depicts them as animals that castrate their  prey. Also in the legends, chupacabras  don’t have the ability to take over their victims’ minds after the creatures  expose them to their “residue” or kill them. Yet in this film, both of those things occur.

The filmmakers of  Chupacabra Territory  chose to go the route of the alien-looking style of a creature, and what we get is  a bad CGI of a reject from the 1984 film Ghoulies. Speaking of CGI effects, the CGI blood used in this film makes that of The Walking Dead look like some Tom Savini-level effects. We really do not get many chupacabras until close to the end. Scattered throughout the film are sounds that it makes,  as well as a set of red eyes that show up from time to time.

As I stated before, the chupacabra in this film has the ability to control the minds of those who it  exposes to its residue or kills, so viewers  get some chupacabra zombies. We also get Amber ’s effects from the chupacabra: she becomes  irritable and goes off on her own to finger blast herself. I’m not kidding. I wish I were, but I am not.

I had higher hopes than normal for  Chupacabra Territory  because of my interest in chupacabra lore. Director and writer Matt McWilliams had a decent idea with making a film centered on this legend but unfortunately, he did nothing with it. The storyline really could not gain any traction and its wheels just spun around in bad acting and even worse CGI. The location was nothing special; it looked like the woods in any town surrounded by a bit of forest, so I can’t even say the location added to the film. I am not sure what  audience this film is trying to reach, but if you are a found footage fan, I think you may be who they are going for. Watch at your own risk and pay heed to the signs I have posted.

Chupacabra Territory 1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

Chupacabra Territory is available from April 11th  on Blu-ray, DVD. and Flixfling. It expands to iTunes, Amazon Instant, and Cable VOD 30 days later.

JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.