The Invisible Raptor

The Invisible Raptor poster

In recent years there has been much talk and admiration of the “high concept” movie, the successor to “elevated horror,” a contrast to the mini-industry of the “mockbuster” which came to the fore in the previous decade, content to ride on the coat tails of the ideas and efforts of others with as little effort and investment as possible; yet in all this there are those who, without significant capital with which to create their feature films nevertheless wish to achieve as much as possible with limited resources.

So it was that writers Mike Capes and Johnny Wickham fell upon a concept which would allow them to maximise the adventure story the story they could tell with the minimum expenditure, a monster movie in which the monster is never seen, its presence evident only its effects upon its suddenly expanded environment as a deadly caged predator escapes into a world full of tempting and tasty treats, unsuspecting innocents about to meet their bloody end.

The typeface of the opening titles of The Invisible Raptor mimicking the Jurassic Park font as much as Mihai Ciolca’s soundtrack is obviously evolved from the scores of John Williams, not only his fanfares for reborn dinosaurs but also Close Encounters with Harry Potter, Chance is not just the smartest invisible raptor ever bred, he is the only invisible raptor ever bred, swiftly outwitting researcher William Walsh (Sean Astin) to unlock his cage and the door of the secret laboratory deep within the Tyler Corporation.

A fully qualified palaeontologist reduced to working as a children’s entertainer at Dinoworld, performing the Dino Rap Dance alongside head of security Deniel “Denny” Denielson (David Shackelford) dressed in a T Rex romper suit, Doctor Grant Walker (Capes) is the first to suspect that a raptor is on the loose, recruiting his ex-girlfriend Amber (Caitlin McHugh) to help track and trap it when the police understandably laugh at his unsupported theories, Denny having trashed the evidence.

Directed by Mike Hermosa who makes the most of very little, The Invisible Raptor promises to be sharp and fast but what is surprising it that it largely delivers, the production team taking cues from the broader works of their favourite director as the rampaging raptor takes a bite out of Spielburgh County as well as other eighties hits such as Weekend at Bernie’s, the bodies piling up at Chance rampages through the supposedly safe haven of suburbia disrupting households, parties and Henrietta McCluckskey’s chicken farm.

A comedy horror not afraid to break the rules by killing the dog and the kid in the first act then play about in their remains, the production values are strata above what might be expected with the presence of the intangible Chance never doubted, conveyed through camera movement, the use of sound, his effect on objects around him and of course the choreographed miming of the cast, the ensemble fully aware that they are having fun rather than playing high drama, the screams interspersed with knowing winks while never forgetting that unswerving belief is necessary to sell the absurd premise – and survive the night.

The Glasgow Film Festival concluded on Sunday 10th March



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