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Temple (2017)



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.

Review

Temple tried to be something, and didn't quite make it. Directed by Michael Barrett, the film is fairly cliched, in so much as the standard three privileged white people (two men, one woman), stomp all over [insert foreign land here] ignoring all warnings from locals, and die inexplicably. The direction is sufficient, the writing is okay, the three characters are as unlikable as they are supposed to be...it's all there to be a throwaway Friday night jumpscare fest. See Ghost House.

But at the one hour mark I was beginning to think that the features length on the listing was incorrect, as there was only 15 minutes remaining, and they had only just reached the titular temple. Nothing had happened. Then, well, everything happened for a bit.

The finale of the film is rushed, to say the least, and makes little sense.

Left unfinished, Temple ends a mess. It concludes without conclusion, stopping in the middle of the action, and offers no answers or resolution. The problem likely comes down to the four credited writers. The first, Simon Barrett, who wrote You're Next and segments in V/H/S and The ABCs of Death, (who probably should have been left alone here) and three others - Neal Edelstein, Shinya Egawa, Mike Macari - none of whom have any other writing credits and are all producers. So I'm calling studio interference.

Sadly, even with a coherent, complete, story, it still wouldn't have fared particularly well, with the American cast not being the strongest in front of the camera, and the Asian cast being far, far better. The effects are okay, but with limited screentime, and the big 'reveal' is so heavily signposted a child would have spotted it.

I never thought I'd say it, but Ghost House was better. At least it finished.


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