Director: Michael Barrett
Starring: Logan Huffman, Brandon Sklenar & Natalia Warner
Synopsis: Three American tourists follow a mysterious map deep into the jungles of Japan searching for an ancient temple. When spirits entrap them, their adventure quickly becomes a horrific nightmare.
Rating: 15 Duration: 75 minutes Release date: 4 September
Don’t you just love a good horror film? You know, the type where three good looking American teenagers venture into a foreign land in search of adventure and a yarn to tell their friends when they get home? Only they don’t make it back home, do they! Of course they don’t, this wouldn’t be a horror film if they did. But, we go along for the ride anyway. We want suspense, scares, characters to root for and maybe a twist thrown in for good measure. Well, Temple has none of these factors, literally zero. Temple is a film so utterly boring I’m tempted to not even rate it.
When three American tourists decide to visit the forests of Japan in order to find an ancient temple, you know things are not going to end well. Kate (Natalia Warner) wants to investigate Japanese temples for some project or another and brings her boyfriend James (Brandon Sklenar) and childhood friend Chris (Logan Huffman) along for the ride. James seems oddly jealous of Chris, while Chris quite rightly doesn’t trust James. It’s very much your typical love triangle and takes up a large part of the films plot. Kate, on the other hand seems oblivious to all that goes on around her, happy in her ignorance that all is well.
Temple takes an absolute age to get going. It has a run time of 75 minutes, but around the 40-50 minute mark you realise that nothing of note has actually happened. There is some exploration of Japan, both the inner city and its rural area. But, the idea of getting to the temple of the title is put off well until the films finale. One could argue that director Michael Barrett is building tension through suspense and the impending sense of dread for what awaits these characters. Sadly, the execution is lacking and the film labours along with little in the way of closure by the films end.
Closure, I admit, is something not always needed in a film. But, Temple asks so many questions and raises so many points that it feels like the creators lost their way and couldn’t see fit how to right their wrongs. There are so many plot holes that you begin to think Temple will be swallowed up into the very hell-mouth it has created. There are times when Chris, who acts as a translator for his friends, quite literally translates English to Kate without batting an eyelid. There are odd camera angles, characters who show up with no explanation as to who they are and an interrogation scene that bookends the film and serves no purpose whatsoever.
I take no joy in berating any film and I’m always aware that good people are just trying to do their job here. But, Temple is a lifeless film that saps away any joy the audience could have potentially had here. There is fun to be had in bad films sure, but Temple forgets this and instead dishes out a cold, arduous excuse for a film that has nothing to recommend it.