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Ghost Canyon

(Sophie Van Winden, Abbey Hoes, Mark Frost, Julian Looman, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / 4Digital Media)

Overview: Lizzy, a zoo veterinarian, gets caught up in a grisly adventure as she finds herself leading the city-wide hunt for a monstrous lion terrorizing the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.

With notorious British big game hunter Jack, Lizzy must work together to prevent more bloodshed.

The hunt is now well and truly on!

DVD Verdict: Originally titled 'Prey,' and initially ready for distribution since 2016, this quite brilliant new Dick Maas-directed movie might well have been sitting on a shelf getting dusty, but trust me when I say that it shows zero signs of lethargy from the off!

Featuring stand out lead performances together with believable characters (given the plot and film scope circumstances, of course), 'Uncaged' doesn't just run screaming up and down blind alleys, it conjures up dark comedy elements too.

And it's actually these, that come fast and furious at one point, but moreover are smartly scattered throughout, that give 'Uncaged' its cinematic edge.

Led by Sophie Van Winden as Lizzy, without a shadow of a doubt she steers he ship here with her on-point acting and delivery of lines. The other unexpected stand out is when she introduces her wheelchair-bound, but no less witty friend, Jack DeLarue (Mark Frost).

Unveiled to us at the film's most warranted time of need, he arrives on the scene wearing a big coat and hat, a shabby version of Sherlock Holmes, if you will.

For the British hunter is their best chance to catch this killer lion, but as with all plot twists, tensions rise as Lizzy’s boyfriend Dave starts to worry about Lizzy and Jack’s previous romantic relationship getting in the way of the hunt!

On a very interesting side note, actually realizing the movie's animal antagonist proved to be a challenge. For using a real, living lion was not possible, since filming with wildlife is prohibited in the Amsterdam city area (it would not have been a good option anyway, as male lions are notoriously lazy and difficult to rouse into action!).

The crew then contacted fellow Dutchman Erik De Boer, whose company was responsible for the computer-generated tiger in 'Life of Pi' (2012).

However, De Boer calculated that one scene alone with a fully computer-generated lion would cost about a million dollar (one-third of the entire budget).

So the crew then turned to a Dutch special effects company, who built a very detailed, manually operated animatronic lion for the close-up scenes with a computer-generated lion then used for a few scenes that showed the creature in full.

In closing, 'Uncaged' has some inventive gore and bloody make-up effects combined with some rather applaudable twists and turns from those trying to out run or escape the predator. And the film has a great climax scene with a quite stunning, and completely unexpected twist too! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.