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CURSE OF THE MAYANS (2017)

aka XIBALBA
Directed by Joaquin Rodriguez
Written by Alberto Haggar, Joaquin Rodriguez
Starring Olga Fonda, Carla Ortiz, Steve Wilcox, Mark Tacher, Juan Pablo Castañeda, Bernardo Peña, Mauricio Martinez, Luis Felipe Tovar, Héctor Ortega, Mauricio Martinez, Ricardo Lima Martinez
Find out more about this film here

CURSE OF THE MAYANS is an ambitious sci fi/action tale that leans more toward action movie clichés than any kind of innovative sci fi ideas. And while there are a lot of things occurring in this low budgeter, the action itself, some of the acting, and the scenery makes up for the stuff we’ve seen way too many times.

When a series of underwater caverns are discovered that may hold the key to not only the origin of the Mayan culture, but also contact with alien life forms, an professor (Steve Wilcox) hires some cave divers lead by beautiful diver Dannielle Noble (Carla Ortiz) to guide him to this buried treasure, promising them a huge payoff. Noble is haunted by the death of her husband and though she is hesitant to lead the expedition, her crew and the money convinces her to venture deep into the Mayan jungle, not knowing what otherworldly horrors lay waiting for her.


CURSE OF THE MAYANS is a decent idea–though it’s kind of the same plot as INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, yet it only has a fraction of the budget, so don’t expect big time effects, huge action pieces, and Shia Labeouf (though I hear The Beef comes pretty cheap these days). SO most of this film centers on the trip to the Mayan caverns and some tacked on drama to give the characters something to do. Usually, this makes for some boring film watching, but surprisingly, Carla Ortiz is a pretty solid actress and gorgeous to boot. So while there’s a whole lot of walking in the jungle for about the first fifty minutes of this film, at least it’s not completely boring.

Once in the caves, on a purely “holy shit, I can’t believe people actually dive underwater through caves” level of amazement, I was pretty shocked to see these actors paddling through these tight caverns. Knowing I would either get lost, hyperventilate, or both if I attempted anything obscurely like that, these underwater sequences were effective and nicely framed to show the wonder and the claustrophobic elements of such an endeavor.

Unfortunately, once the aliens are unleashed from their underwater tombs, it offers up for some lackluster thrills we’ve all seen before in many alien invasion films, specifically the ALIEN franchise. While the setting is interesting, the budget to really deliver some solid thrills simply isn’t there. It’s unfortunate that this film didn’t have the shekels to deliver on the aliens or do something different with the climax of the film because the rest of it really isn’t half bad. The folks behind the CURSE OF THE MAYANS seem to have done their homework both on Mayan culture and theories on its ties with alien visitors. I’ve seen much worse action sci fi films. Don’t go in expecting too much and you might be surprised at how effective this little movie is, for the most part. It doesn’t quite deliver by the end, but the road to the Mayan Alien Tombs had my attention.




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