Uninvited (1988)

Huh, I followed a killer dog movie with a killer cat movie.

A corrupt rich man spots a couple of bikini-clad beauties and invites them to come visit the Caribbean on his yacht. Along the way they bring a trio of guys and a cat they find. Unfortunately once they get on board, the SEC arrives to investigate the corrupt rich guy, and he’s forced to shove off immediately without letting anyone off. But that douchebaggery is nothing compared to the cat, which is actually an escaped lab animal harboring a hideous mutant cat inside of it which can dispense a lethal dose of poison with a single bite. Soon the engine breaks down, the monster cat contaminates the yacht’s food supply, and the steadily dwindling group start going mad from desperation. Will anyone survive?

As ridiculous as that sounds, Uninvited actually does offer a few moments of nasty horror, particularly with its poison. Apparently the way the cat’s poison works is to cause the human body to overproduce blood cells until our veins pop from the excess pressure. While nobody ever goes in a cartoonish balloon (you have no idea how badly I wanted to see that happen. I wanted things to go full Fist of the North Star), there are some pretty nasty effects. There is also an awesome scene where a character who has previously been shot in the arm looks down and discovers the mutant cat has just chewed off three of his fingers. It’s ghoulish the way he spots it in time to see his middle finger pop off and flop to the floor. It’s just a shame that the rest of the movie never quite lives up to its best parts.

Why not? Well for one, the mutant cat is a painfully bad puppet. Sometimes it’s used sparingly, and during those moments it can be effective. Towards the end however it gets some overuse that reveals just how awful, raggedy, and fake it really looks; there is a particularly terrible image of it sitting on top of a floating briefcase in a storm that just screams “puppet.” It causes the creature to lose its effectiveness and makes me roll my eyes. Another problem with the film is that it’s front loaded. By the time you reach the last half hour, the director is rushing between scenes with little to no transition. Suddenly this happens. Suddenly that happens. Suddenly everything. Too much of the limited budget was spent on the lead up to everything and not enough time was spent on the back half of the movie, particularly the hilariously bad final battle in a lifeboat under what’s supposed to be driving rain.

As for the cast, well, they’re nothing special. George Kennedy is the highlight as the rich man’s muscle, but his lines mostly consist of how much he hates everything. Other actors vary in their abilities, but the script certainly doesn’t help any of them. I’m sure it could have been worse, but when combined with the steadily worsening pacing problems and the overuse of the cat puppet, it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard. Still, it’s got some decent nasty kills.

Uninvited. Don’t ask for it by name. Ask for “that mutant cat on a boat movie.”

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