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Film Review: Chupacabra vs. the Alamo (2013)

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SYNOPSIS:

Chupacabras have come from Mexico to San Antonio, Texas through drug cartel tunnels. A DEA investigation of some brutal killings turns to a brawl at none other than the Alamo, as chupacabras are discovered to be the menace.

REVIEW:

Erik Estrada plays Carlos Seguin, a tough-as-nails DEA agent who happens also to be a single father. He “grew up on the street.” He “knows what’s out there.” But even his world is tossed into upheaval when he investigates a gang slaying which befuddles everyone, including his new plucky partner, Tracy Taylor (Julia Benson). It looks as though these gangsters have been ripped to shreds not by other drug people but by animals. And as more and more slayings take place across Southern Texas, it becomes clear it’s a not-a-who-but-what-situation.
So … what?

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Chupacabras, of course.

Are they using Mexican drug cartel tunnels to enter the United States?
You bet they are … and just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

They wreak havoc. They threaten the life of the wrong DEA agent’s daughter. Then … to the Alamo! It’s human versus chupacabra. They’re going down.
CHUPACABRA VS. THE ALAMO, a made-for-TV–excuse me, a made-for-the-SyFy Channel–movie is entertaining enough. It’s not a complete waste of time like so many of those flicks are. The characters are all well-written, not to mention well-realized by the actors. Estrada is just the right amount of sympathetic, playing a single father whose son has turned to a life of crime and whose teenage daughter rebells. He’s plenty bad-ass, as well. Benson, his partner, is tough and witty–eccentric, too, with as many dating problems as she has degrees. The two leads’ personal lives are thus more than obligatory nods to character development. These people are interesting and relatable; and when they gather at the Alamo to defend against the chupacabras, you have a reason to pull for them, to hope they survive, win the fight.

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CHUPACABRA VS. THE ALAMO offers some admittedly fun twists along the way, like Estrada’s criminal son bringing along his crew of gangsters to the Alamo to do battle with the chupacabras. Their interactions with the band of DEA agents are hysterical.

“Looks like we got ourselves a hunt!”

Generally speaking, the film is well-paced, dragging only a bit here and there. There are some awkward scenes too, but you roll with them. Judging by the movie’s title this isn’t something to be taken seriously. So you can turn off your mind and laugh at the supreme dumbness these scenes afford.

The soundtrack rules. It reminds me of a typical Robert Rodriguez score. It rocks … with a good taste of Mexicana.

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The biggest shortcoming, really, is the chupacabras’ appearance. They look pretty silly. You guessed it: bad CGI out the yay-hoo. Are they supposed to be menacing? They look like screen savers of emaciated chihuahuas. Typical SyFy Channel fx. I felt sorry for the little creatures at times. One even gets microwaved! They look so defenseless. They’re obviously just hungry. Someone give them some puppy chow. The CGI on the monsters is therefore simply awful. But the computer graphics are used to a nice effect with shots of Estrada riding his motorcycle. He’s made to look almost like a cartoon. With the music and the whole vibe, it works–quite well.

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The movie’s climax is simply ludicrous. You have to see it to believe it. Say what you will about CHUPACABRA VS. THE ALAMO. At least it’s not predictable. Well, very predictable. It wasn’t to me, anyway.

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I would recommend this one to anyone out for some dumb fun, some mindless–and I mean, mindless–entertainment. I would recommend it to fans of silly creature features and cheap action movies. Hey, for a SyFy Channel original, it’s pretty good. Pretty good indeed.

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