Photos courtesy of Netflix
Jonás Cuarón tries to capture Spielberg vibes in Netflix's Chupa. Marcus Rinehart, Sean Kennedy Moore and Joe Barnathan pen the film's script while family fantasy film giant Chris Columbus is one of the producers. A shy 13-year-old named Alex (Evan Whitten) flies from Kansas City to Mexico for the first time ever to meet his extended family. It is here that he meets his grandfather, the former lucha libre champion Chava (Demián Bichir), his energetic, wrestling-obsessed cousin Memo (Nickolas Verdugo), and his fearless, hip cousin Luna (Ashley Ciarra). In the midst of getting his bearings, Alex discovers a mythical creature under his grandfather's shed: a little chupacabra cub, which he recognizes from stories about the full-grown chupacabra that reportedly ate livestock.
Upon learning about Chupa's secret past, Alex discovers that dangerous scientist Richard Quinn (Christian Slater) is on the trail of the mysterious creature to harness its powers. As a way of protecting Chupa, Alex embarks on the adventure of a lifetime that will push his newfound family to the brink, and prove to him that life's burdens are lighter when you share them.
Chupa is set in 1996 and opens up introducing us to our villain. Richard Quinn (Christian Slater) attempts to capture two real-life chupacabras. When the baby and mother part ways, Quinn continues to search, We then meet Alex amidst some bullying and clearly not happy at home. When Alex makes his way to Mexico the story attempts to pick up by introducing us to some Mexican culture and that's where I hoped the film would go. Demián Bichir, Nickolas Verdugo and Ashley Ciarra all sell the material so well that I forgot about the cute cha until he shows up.
Ironically when we see Chupa the movie lost momentum for me as at this point, I didn't care about him. The script writers don't follow the basic template a film like this requires. In this story, there's nothing surprising, and the screenwriters realize that, so they omit key moments. Narratively and thematically, the film offers lip service. The script hurries toward a clichéd climax you've seen before, followed by a sequence that wraps everything up with a little bow.
There's nothing wrong with predictability but with all the talent behind the scenes, Chupa misses the mark.
Chupa is available to stream tomorrow on Netflix.