Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Mike Hermosa.

Starring Mike Capes, David Shackelford, Caitlin Mchugh, Sandy Martin.

Comedy, US, 112 minutes.


Reviewed as part of Glasgow FrightFest 2024.


On a story level you must ask why on Earth would you make a velociraptor invisible? On a film making and storytelling level you also must ask why on Earth would you make an entire film about an invisible velociraptor. The main attraction of the film that could arguably pull in an audience already enamoured with the ancient reptilian creatures from Jurassic Park and you don’t even show it. Not once! Surely this shouldn’t work out at all.


Well, it turns out that THE INVISIBLE RAPTOR is probably the best invisible dinosaur film yet. Admittedly it probably is a small field to stand out in, but this gloriously daft and inventive comedy proved its worth within minutes, going down a storm with its UK première at this year's Glasgow FrightFest. It instantly delivers on its premise with an opening sequence featuring a cameo from Sean Astin as a hapless scientist working for a nefarious corporation involved in genetic engineering. From here we are quickly off to the races as the titular creature bloodily breaks out from its high-tech compound and makes its way to a small Californian town.


Enter Dr. Grant Walker, a disgraced palaeontologist, now reduced to trotting out dino facts in a zoo to disinterested kids before rapping and dancing for them with security guard Denny in an ill-fitting dinosaur costume. As a series of bloody murders begins to spread across the town, Grant gets a hunch from a very particular set of clues that a raptor may be involved. With only the lonely Denny believing him, Grant sets out to track down the titular creature and in the process win back the affection of Amber, his ex-girlfriend who has just appeared in town, unwittingly setting herself, and her young daughter, straight in the path of the elusive creature as its taste for blood only grows stronger.


Obviously influenced by the franchise there are also a number of nods to other Spielberg classics and other staples of 80’s genre cinema. These range from instantly recognisable riffs, and instantly recognisable character actors such as Richard Riehle and Larry Hankin, to special effects work aided by 80’s legend Steve Johnson and a truly impressive number of deep cuts. What is impressive however is that all these references never feel forced or dropped in just for the sake of it, even beating Spielberg at his own game by being a more successful and infinitely more fun riff on 80’s cinema than his own READY PLAYER ONE. The script, co-written by Mike Capes, pulling double duty here by also playing Grant, is a genuinely funny piece of work that manages to stand on its own with its involving plot and smartly drawn characters, particularly David Shackelford as Denny, a somewhat tragic figure ironically stuck in the past reluctant to let go of the childhood mementoes that brought him so much pleasure while also nursing a long list of long standing resentments from high school.


Special mention however should go to Sandy Martin as Henrietta McCluckskey, local chicken seller and foul-mouthed conspiracy theorist. Already familiar to fans of Napoleon Dynamite and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Mrs Mac, her gruff demeanour is taken to another level here with her foul mouthed rants and no-nonsense style of advertising. She brings a further level of anarchy to an already anarchic film, particularly in the films eye opening climatic act.


While some may take issue with the films near two hour running time, the gag rate is exceptionally high, beating any number of big studio releases with its inventive storyline and truly impressive special effects work. Gory, funny and extremely silly THE INVISIBLE RAPTOR easily delivers on its outlandish premise and proves itself as one of one of the smartest and funniest genre comedies in a long time.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans