Supposedly based on a true occurrence of 1984, IN THE SHADOW OF KILIMANJARO takes place in Kenya in the Amboselli National Park. Bottoms runs a wildlife preserve in a region inhabited by the Masai that is suffering from a severe draught. Because there is a shortage of food and water, the
animals have become difficult to control--especially the baboons, which are now roaming in packs looking for food. When the dismembered body of a young native boy is found, Bottoms makes an appeal for evacuating the area's 200 residents. His wife (Miracle), who has just arrived from California via
Nairobi, is attacked by the angry primates trying to break into her house. Eventually all the locals are gathered under one roof, with boards nailed to the windows, doors well secured, and the men armed and prepared for the attack of the baboons.
Amounting to nothing more than THE BIRDS meets BORN FREE, this formula thriller combines Hitchcock's revolt-of-nature theme with a Kenyan game reserve locale. First-time director Patel, an Indian-born citizen of Nairobi, manages to create some decent suspense, however; the use of a Steadicam to
simulate the point of view of the baboons' attack is harrowing, especially in conjunction with the shrieking baboon voices (created in the sound studio by Percy Edwards). There is also some unexpected ethnographic footage of the Masai tribe, the most memorable of which is the opening scene of a
young boy in the bush killing a deadly snake with his slingshot.
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