Sunday, October 3, 2010
A group of young surfers vacationing in Spain fall into possession of an antique board game, dating back to the Spanish Inquisition, called Mamba. They play it, not realizing it is cursed because it was created/belonged to/is made from/something a witch killed in the Inquisition. (There’s no real purpose to the curse. It’s there because it’s there.) Everyone who loses will die in the manner specified on their “death card” while the winner will get one wish granted. After playing, the group of losers begins to be knocked off one by one, while the two main characters Erica (Eliza Dushku from Buffy, Tru Calling and Dollhouse) and Jason (Mike Vogel, Cloverfield) try to reverse the curse.
It’s pretty much a mess. The group of surfers doesn’t really have any sympathetic characters, so the movie makes the mistake common to current movies of not giving us anyone toward whom to feel sympathetic. If you aren’t rooting for Tomas to die, you don’t have a soul. The plot, such as it is, seems more suited to a shorter Twilight Zone length, as is the final twist at the end. There is a lot of CGI in the film, and most of it is terrible. The filmmakers were definitely going for the gross-out with the deaths, but you get more emotion from seeing something happen to a character you care about than from seeing one you are indifferent to get his eyes eaten by crabs.
I think both Dushku and Vogel have some talent as actors, but there is really no way for anyone to save this one. Give it a pass.