The Lost World concept has a long and successful history in fiction and on film. From Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World) through to Merian Cooper’s 1933 King Kong (and later remakes) to Spielberg’s Jurassic Park series, writers and filmmakers have explored the idea of an isolated part of the planet where the remnants of prehistoric life linger on (or have been reborn), infiltrated now by an expeditionary team of some kind. Scientists, adventurers and entrepreneurs must face the lost world’s monstrous inhabitants and survive — though survival is by no means guaranteed. It is a popular trope that never seems to lose its appeal, as unexplored places in the real world become more and more scarce.
Even in 2014, parts of the Amazon remain a mystery. A new, much anticipated monster film, The Expedition (UK; dir. Adam Spinks), follows the journey of a scientific expedition trekking deep into the Amazon jungle seeking rare species.
Deep in the Amazon jungle a research team lead by a respected Professor strive to protect vulnerable and endangered species. However, after a series of strange events, the superstitious guides abandon the team, who, faced with a tough decision, decide to remain deep in the jungle in an attempt to complete their study… But as night falls they begin to realize that all is not as it seems and that they are in the hunting ground of an apex predator…. Something they never could have imagined.
Though hints of what they find have been given (the film is described as “a monster movie”, whatever it is “has evolved” and images of dinosaurs appear in the film’s Facebook page), the exact nature of “the monster” remains a secret. Will the team members survive the experience? What is the thing they discover? Well, apparently we are about to find out. The website is on a countdown to “the big reveal”. As I type this, the revelation is 13 hours, 57 minutes away.
Here’s more proof:
And there’s a monster in this teaser, too, but not much of one.
“It’s an incredible story we’re telling here,” says Sarah MacDonnell, who plays one of the expedition members, “I’ve never seen anything of this size and scale done in this way before. We’re doing some really exciting stuff with the characters.”
Director Spinks is extremely positive about the prospects. “I’m excited to be bringing such a remarkable project as The Expedition to the big screen,” he said. “When Ben [Loyd-Holmes] first approached me about the film I was gripped by the concept. This is a real thrill ride of a movie that will have audiences on the edge of their seats.”
Despite the ancestry of the basic concept, Spinks is adamant that The Expedition came together in a way that is fresh and exciting.
“That’s the challenge now in filmmaking that we all face — coming up with new and
exciting ideas for the audience. That became our mantra in making the movie… what has NOT been done before in the genre… And we made it our mission to do as much of it as possible.”
Keen to ensure the “reality” of the film, both in terms of character development and the monsters themselves, Loyd-Holmes (pictured above as Professor Howson) was convinced that, in terms of the VFX, physicality remained a key issue. “I was determined to have a physical creature,” he commented. “And it was in the research phase that we found the mechanisms and technology that could be combined to create the creatures. With that the project accelerated. Once I was sure the practical elements of the film could be done, I set about refining the idea, as well as putting together the team and this has gone from being an ambitious idea to becoming a project I’m incredibly proud of.”
The cast of The Expedition includes Best Actor Nominee (Film Guild BIHF), Ben Loyd-Holmes (Skyfall, Da Vinci’s Demons, Torchwood), Neil Newbon (Holby City, Hollyoaks), Sarah MacDonnell (Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Montana), Ernesto Cantu (World War Z), Daniel Caren (The Girl Is Mime, The Hike, The Bill) as well as Simon Burbage (Pulp: The Movie), Dolores Reynals (There Be Dragons), Ross O’Hennessy (Da Vinci’s Demons) and Emma Lillie-Lees.
So far the response has been strong. The Expedition was very well-received at MCM Expo London Comic Con and Undead Backbrain’s news-creature Avery Guerra reports that at one point the film surpassed Godzilla on IMDb’s list of the most anticipated monster movies of 2014. “That’s a pretty amazing feat for an indie,” Avery commented.
Producer Loyd-Holmes agrees. “The response from people out there to what we’re doing has been amazing. This kind of movie is normally left to big studios, but we’ve approached it in a new and exciting way… We’ve been inventive, tried to do something special… I’m really pleased to have made this movie and I cannot wait to bring the audience something that feels so real, yet is just so magical.”
From the stills we’ve obtained, the shoot location is both authentic and spectacular and the cast clearly made some interesting friends.
So, the question remains: what lurks outside the tent and what will we see 14 hours from now when the “big reveal” takes place?
Source: Ben Loyd-Holmes via Avery Guerra; Press Pack.