In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro Reviews

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October 9, 2012
"In The Shadow of Kilimanjaro" has a lot of good things going for it. The story, like every script that is based on true events, has some facts embellished but is convincing and flows well. The basic premise is that in Kenya in 1984, there was this "perfect storm" of events that lead to a terrifying spectacle. A severe drought killed off much of the vegetation and small animals in the country. What it didn't kill were thousands of baboons, which eventually turned into hungry mobs, devouring anything in their path, including humans.
The animal training and the shots of wildlife are really amazing, lending a lot of credibility to the story. There are literally hundreds of animals on the screen and you think to yourself that the shots of these apes all running in one direction must have been stock footage or computer effects but no. There was extensive work when the film was made to train all of these animals to perform for some key scenes in the movie that are quite impressive.
The film almost plays like a zombie film, with hordes of man-eating creatures who can't be reasoned with just waiting for the time to strike and in that aspect the film can be quite effective. Where it doesn't quite work is that the film doesn't go far enough into the horror genre, with many shots of potentially shocking attacks being abruptly cut. This might have been done for budgetary reasons, but nonetheless they leave you wanting so much more than they deliver. The ending also comes very abruptly and isn't quite as satisfying as it should be. The film is nevertheless quite good and if you're a fan of zombie films, this is one of those stories that didn't want to be a variation on the genre, but ended up being on. If you've ever wanted to see a good animal-based horror story, look no further. (On VHS, October 5, 2012)
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