I’ve worked in this industry for nearly two decades. Over the years, the process of screening films for reviews, interviews, or podcasts has not really changed. It used to be boxes of DVDs. Then it was boxes of Blu-rays. Now it is inboxes full of Vimeo links. Regardless, there’s always that twinge of angst that crops up when you’re about to sit down entrench yourself in a film that you know little or nothing about. Sometimes the experience is enjoyable, like discovering that there’s one last Werther’s Original stuck to the lint goldmine of your jeans pocket. Other times the viewing is akin to coming home to find a hobo living in your daughter’s treehouse: the situation cannot be avoided and odds are there’s going to be a fair amount of blood shed or crying.
Then, dear friends and kind neighbors, a surprise comes along that is so unexpected that it restores my faith in humanity and more importantly Hollywood. That wonder, that nugget of purest gold in the coalmine of cynicism that is my psyche has a name. This glowing bastion of hope is known as The Jurassic Games.
Putting my legendary wit and writing prowess aside, The Jurassic Games is the most fun I’ve had screening a film in a number of years. Writer and director Ryan Bellgardt takes a hypothetical situation that often crops up when the topic of capital punishment enters into the mainstream – if we’re going to authorize the state to take a life, why not televise it and profit off of it? The contestants are sentenced to die, so at what point do we slide out of the moral grey area? And why not put them in a virtual reality simulation where the only people they could hurt are each other?
The Jurassic Games takes an idea shown in the Steve Austin vehicle The Condemned and adds dinosaurs, giant insects and possibly one of the most terrifying female villains ever. Katie Burgess is a young newcomer to Hollywood, but damn was she frightening in this film. Her character, Joy, has little backstory. Her motivations and what lead her to become one of the youngest serial killers sentenced death add to her chilling performance. She has no remorse. She has no fear. She is a calculating butcher cloaked in the body of a petite girl-next-door.
Enough of the blather. We all know you came here to see my lovely avatar speaking with the subjects in question. Below you will find my interviews with Mr. Bellgardt and Ms. Burgess! Enjoy!
The Jurassic Games will be available for on VOD in June. A physical copy of the film will be released on July 3rd and you can pre-order the DVD on Amazon!
Ryan Bellgardt on Social Media
Katie Burgess on Social Media: