Oh boy this one’s a special one. Labou is a film that I’ve been looking for, for about a decade or so. See, this film came out in 2008, direct to video. Some time around that year, it aired on tv, and tiny little 7 year old Joe Blode saw it that day, tucked it into the deepest back of my mind, and then immediately this film dropped off the face of the earth. For years that little corner of my mind occasionally yelled, “Hey! Remember me?” then I’d try to find this flick, fail, then just forget about it. Until today! Finally after a decade I managed to find this film, and now I’m tossing a noose around the neck of this film as it lies in that dark cold pit it hid in, and I am forcing it back into the light. Let’s get on with it!
The film begins with a quick backstory about what we’re dealing with today. So many years ago in Louisiana, a pirate came by and said “Hey I wanna put my gold in this bank!” and the town was like, “No we don’t want pirate treasure!” They chase him off, they start to sail, then immediately a huge storm sweeps in, takes down the ship, and kills everyone on board. The only one who comes back as a ghost is the captain, whos trying to find the gold he lost in order to keep it safe.
Cut to modern day, a black nerd kid is talking to asshole skater kid about the legend, when random asian girl says that he bullied her brother. These kids are named Gavin, Todd, and Emily respectively. Yeah I actually looked up their names, I’m gonna start doing that now. So Todd says he saw the ghost and therefore knows the treasures real, and so he wants them to get the treasure. Now, apparently these guys are friends, even though the first thing Emily said was that Todd bullied her brother.
Meanwhile, these two Texas guys, Ronald and his son Reggie, are talking to the mayor of this town about building an oil refinery in the middle of this swamp. The mayor said that they shouldn’t because people think it’s haunted, but he says that he’ll let them do it anyways unless someone can buy the land in a few days. Is this plot starting to sound familiar to you? A buncha kids go out to find pirate treasure to buy land from greedy people? You should, because it’s a blatant Goonies ripoff. And if you’ve never seen the Goonies, it’d be a better use of your time then learning more about this film.
So the kids go to the library and find a map of the swamp the family used to live on. They go there, look through it, then steal it because the library doesn’t let them take it. They rip the map into thirds and decide that no one gets a full version of the map. So first they go to the plantation on the map. Realistically a haunted Louisiana plantation is the last place a black person should be going to, but they go anyways and start snooping around, only to be scared off by what is presumably a pirate, then a pirate ghost.
That night the kids are chilling by a fire and suddenly the abomination known as the Labou shows up. They have a musical number then go to sleep. However, while they’re asleep, Todd steals the other maps and hides it in a tree trunk. We also see Labou watching this. The next morning they say they can’t find it, but when Todd goes back to find the parts of the map, oops they’re gone and now he can’t find it.
They start heading back home with Labou, only to find the guys from Texas putting up the most evil sign there ever could be in the middle of the woods. They start dancing and then hear some noise Labou made, and go into the bush to investigate. However, the kids scurry out of the bush, tie some rope around the sign, then the back of the truck, so when the Texans come back and start to drive off, the sign flies up and hits the top of the truck. The two get out, and that’s when Reggie notices Labou in the bush, who he mistakes for an alien, which I guess is reasonable. Labou runs off, the kids run off, and the Texans get back to work.
After walking for a bit, the kids bump into the living pirate guy, who spills the beans. His name is Clayton and his ancestor was the pirate who died. He’s the last of his family, who lived on this land, protecting it from invaders and trying to find the gold. Now the question arises, if the ship sank at sea, how the fuck did the treasure end up in the middle of the Louisiana bayou?
Anyways, the kids convince Clayton to help them find the treasure to save the land, and he agrees. But first they have to scare off the texans. They use this device they have to find that there’s oil under the ground at the coordinates 39 Latitude, 90 Longitude. Out of curiosity I put this number into a gps coordinator and that combination brings them directly to the middle of china. If it was -90 it would be in the middle of Illinois, which is better, at least that’s in America, but still that’s just lazy. This was 2008, I’m pretty sure even then it would be easy to look up some random coordinates in the Louisiana bayou, but hey fuck it, this isn’t even important.
What is important is, why the hell were you trying to build an oil refinery when you weren’t even sure there was going to be oil there in the first place? Either I misunderstand how the construction of oil refinery’s work, or this film is stupid. Good news, it’s both. Anyways, so the four good guys manage to steal the GPS from the Texans and run off. Luckily for them, the Texans don’t remember the coordinates, but tell them to send in the construction workers anyways so eh. So the construction workers barge in, and the kids decide it’s high time to save the day! So we’ll pick this up later.
Jesus these characters are flatter than paper. I’ve already explained every characters personality as soon as we first met them. Todd’s an asshole, Gavin’s a nerd, Emily is just kind of there, and the Texans are just, Texan. The acting is bad, obviously, bad acting and this show are like chocolate and peanut butter.
Ok I’m not gonna lie, the effects aren’t too terrible. Labou is a practical effect most of the time, and it looks well made, it’s just not cute. It looks like a fucking gremlin, like it’s gonna try and eat me in my sleep. The pirate itself is just an actor with some effects done to make him look more spooky, so you know what as far as the effects look, it works I guess.
So the kids rush into the house while the people aren’t looking and set up a few traps. We get a home alone esque climax, even the pirate ghost joins in to help out, and in the end the construction crew runs off. However, at the same time the Texans find the Labou and decide they want it so they can make money. But that gets dropped basically immediately as the kids, pirate, and Labou get outta there to find the treasure.
Eventually the kids find their way to the treasure, and as soon as they do the ghost comes up and says the treasure is his. Then Clayton spoke up and said, “Hey! Stop being a dick we’re trying to save our land!” and the ghosts like, “Alright you can use the gold.” So the kids hop into a truck, scoop up a shit ton of gold and then rush off to the mayor’s house and drop off the gold to buy the land, which causes the mayor to have the most uninterested reaction ever.
Suddenly Ronald shows up and says the kids stole the treasure from him, but then Reggie has a change of heart, realizes his dads a dick, and says the kids own the treasure and they should use it. Then we get to the point of the film I remembered. So the mayor says, “alright hold on, how can we be sure that this is even the pirates treasure,” and then the ghost flies out and is like, “Cause I say so!”
Suddenly Ronald runs to the gold and tries to steal some, then gets arrested. So the kids save the land, turn it into a nature preserve for the Labou species, and yes there are multiple, Reggie gets a job holding tours around the area, and they were all damned by god for allowing the abominations known as the Labou to reproduce, the end.
This film was actually kind of a fun ride. Yes that might just be because at this point we’re broken and just have fun with whatever terrible shit we watch, unless it’s a special kind of bad, but I digress. The plot is basically a ripoff of the goonies without any of the charm, the characters are one note, and somehow Sloth, the horribly deformed human, is much more charming and likable then his equivalent in this film, the disgusting scaley monster Labou. I don’t think we need to acknowledge this film past this review, entirety of planet earth. Just let it curl up and die like it wants too, and the rest of us will just watch the film it’s ripping off instead. Also, heads up, I’m going to be at Disney World all of this week so the next review will be posted by someone else in the crew.