Against the wishes of her Uncle John, Mandie Shaw and her friends decide to ‘assist’ him in his quest to find a hidden cave containing lost Cherokee treasure. But when they stow away on a train for their adventure, Mandie and her friends soon discover that they are not the only ones after the coveted goods. A mysterious mountain man (?) and two troublemakers are also searching for the cave for their own purposes. If they are ever going to keep the treasure from falling into the wrong hands, Mandie and her friends will need to procure a scrubber (?) and brave bats and low oxygen levels in the secret mine shaft, using only memorized poetry from some old map to guide them. Will they be able to get the treasure for themselves or will it fall into the wrong hands?
Production Quality (.5 point)
It must be noted that Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure is worse than the first installment, Mandie and the Secret Tunnel. This isn’t good at all for the production team, considering Secret Tunnel wasn’t that great to begin with. More corners are cut in Cherokee Treasure and the strained budget is painfully obvious. With such low funding, was this movie even worth making? The only positive about the production is the diverse sets. The camera work is amateurish, the video quality is sub-par, and the sound quality is inconsistent. Background noises litter the landscape, especially in outside scenes. The soundtrack is hideous and there are obvious continuity errors, such as characters doing one thing before a cut and then doing something different after the cut. There is an overall unrealistic feel to the movie, including poorly constructed scenes. The editing is hard to follow, making the storyline confusing. In short, it’s really hard to even justify the existence of this film.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
The original novels of Lois Gladys Leppard have been marred by the movie adaptations. The only shred of positive in the plot is the slightly interesting twist at the end of this film. Otherwise, it’s unbearable. Characters are more ridiculous than ever, with childish dialogue and stupid portrayals. The characters are obvious, exaggerated, and stereotypical. The storyline is nonsensical and is historically and technologically questionable. There is no real driving purpose to this movie; the Christian message is either watered down or made to look clownish. As previously mentioned, the story is hard to follow, defies logic, and isolates the audience into either boredom or light comic relief. Whatever the writers were going for is unclear; this plot should have never left the storyboarding stage, if they had one.
Acting Quality (0 points)
This film ranks among the worst casting\coaching jobs in Christian film making, flirting with the possibility of negative points. Line delivery is either lazy or completely overdone. Emotions are exaggerated to the point of making the viewer believe this is a satire. Perhaps the most ridiculous element to the acting is the fact that the audience is supposed to believe at first that one of the characters is a man, when they are obviously a woman with terrible acting skills. It is ‘shockingly’ revealed later that this character was just pretending, but only after everyone has figure it out.
If the creators of this movie were going for a clown show to make fun of the original books, it worked. If they were not intentionally making a satire, then the creative team needs to seriously reconsider their calling in life and think about how their film making comes off. It would have been better for movies like this to have never been made, because such films only further contribute to the laughingstock of independent Christian films. Quality always, always, always matters more than quantity. Were half of all Christian films never made, we would all be very grateful, especially if we missed out on gems like this one.
Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points