Uncaged follows a veterinarian and her misfit crew of friends as they try to stop a man-eating lion from terrorizing Amsterdam.
Based on the premise, you may gather that Uncaged is very aware of itself and doesn't take its situation too seriously. Think of it like a Dutch Lake Placid with a lion instead of a crocodile and you about have the atmosphere and script accurately portrayed in your head. And with that simple image dancing around inside your skull, you know whether or not you'll enjoy it. For those that haven't seen Lake Placid, it's been a while, or you want to know just how similar they are...read on.
This film portrays many of the same characters sans Placid's snappy Betty White; with a veterinarian replacing the paleontologist, a hunter replacing the mythology professor, and the rest of the supporting cast remaining relatively intact, including a snarky and befuddled policeman. The dialogue is also very similar in tone, with most of the script committed to witty banter between characters, delivering subtle and more apparent insults in passing between the moments of feline carnage. Despite a lion tearing apart people left and right, there is an insistent drive to keep the levity throughout. For every beheading, there're three jokes about somebody's IQ.
The CG isn't terrible by b-movie standards, and I found it passable considering the tone of the film was focused on keeping things entertaining even when the lion wasn't around. But the CG was also low enough that I couldn't recommend this film to anyone looking to watch it just for the lion mayhem. The effects are in this awkward space where a handful of films live, like The Host, where they're fun to watch, but also completely unimpressive.
The acting is good enough to deliver the funnies, but even some of the cheesy deaths are a bit too cheesy...One scene in particular involving an inept hunter is so goofy, it feels like a slapstick satire that sooner belongs in a Scary Movie rip-off of Uncaged. In fact, the film seems to struggle with the identity of its humor throughout and the jokes tend to miss their timing (this can sometimes be attributed to subtitles affecting the momentum of a conversation, but even with that in mind, some of the jokes felt uneven).
With the tone of the film, there's little room for effective horror. We have a few prey scenes that manage some thrills, but most try too many gags or to keep the average CG from being in frame for too long, especially when the beast must directly interact with its victim. Despite a good chunk of miscues in the humor and horror department, I didn't think Uncaged was a total loss. It has a charm to it, but more of an awkward allure than legitimate charisma.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 4/10
Film Quality: 5/10