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Creature - Movie Review

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Creature - Movie Review

1 Star

After a promising opening scene, in which an attractive young woman (Jennifer Lynn Warren) slowly disrobes and slips into the murky backwaters of a Louisiana swamp before being stalked and dismembered by a rogue alligator, Creature quickly descends into its own brackish murk. Unlike the poor, unfortunate local in the opening scene who was put out of her suffering rather quickly, director/co-writer Fred Andrews has the remainder of the film’s 90 minutes to try to get out of his predicament known as Creature.

Let’s not wonder why such a fair-haired maiden would even consider exposing her pale-white, fragile skin to such a hellish pit of lurking danger. That’s not for us to consider. In fact, let’s not worry about the hundreds of other ridiculous unanswereds peppered throughout Creature either. Those aren’t really the reasons why Creature stinks up the joint so badly. There are plenty of other poor decisions on which to place blame. Let’s see… where to begin.

But first, let’s get this out of the way. We love horror. Even campy horror. There’s nothing more fun than spending a couple of hours with a cheap, schlocky slasher flick or a rubber-suited creature feature where an Assistant Director forgot to completely zip up the monster’s suit. The Creature From the Black Lagoon is still considered one of faves of all time. But while camp is camp, bad is just bad. And Creature is just plain bad with its wooden acting, stilted dialogue, and a premise more flimsy than the hull of a hundred-year-old johnboat. Born from the pages of his graphic novel titled Blood is Blood, Andrews takes his story way too seriously for it to play out as a parody. There’s not a single laugh to be had (even an unintentional one), and most disappointing of all, the creature (who resembles Donatello of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fame) is never frightening.

On their way to New Orleans, an obnoxious group of 20-somethings (played by actors in their 30s) takes an ill-advised rest stop at a roadside convenience store owned by a local Cajun named Chopper (Sid Haig). While picking up beer and snack food, the kids learn of a creature the locals call Lockjaw, a half-man, half-alligator that stalks the woods looking for women to impregnate. Legend has it that a rare white alligator carried off his sister, who was pregnant with his child. You see, the family lineage was in danger of ending, so the remaining brother and sister got it on with hopes of carrying on the family bloodline. Yep, you read that correctly. But any potential squirm to be unearthed from a thread involving brother-sister incest was never taken anywhere, despite the fact that a couple of our main characters were brother-sister duos. A huge missed opportunity.

Andrews also misses on getting the backwoods yokels part of the story right.  A store full of dirty, toothless inbreds should provide a wealth of opportunity for creepy atmosphere and unsettling danger. Anyone remember the hillbillies from Deliverance? Instead we get Haig running around yelling at everybody that “it’s all a part of God’s will.”  It’s embarrassing to see Haig flounder amongst a cast unable to rise above the poor writing. He’s so much better than this.

Andrews does get a bit of credit for knowing how to establish a shot and where to put the camera though. He’s even able to inject the film with a somewhat unique sense of style. His visuals are sometimes actually quite effective. But the occasional slow-mo and desaturated colors are too inconsistent and distracting to give the film a signature style. And Andrews does smartly keep Lockjaw dark and distant, but it’s still not enough to mask the poor creature effects and the lack of anything for the monster to do. Lockjaw just slinks around in the woods, occasionally squatting while looking into the camera.

Yes, there’s something rotten in the swamp all right, but unfortunately it’s not Lockjaw. That earthy, acrid stench is emanating from the pages of Andrews’s horrid script. We’d like to say Creature would be a good watch when it reaches the dollar bin at the local Wal-Mart next week, but even as a source of bloody-good exposition, the film falls short. Nearly every kill shot takes place off screen, including the climax that features the remaining characters (who we don’t even know, much less care about) sliding down into a pit of bubbling mud as they try to fight Lockjaw. Yes indeed, the film’s climactic fight scene takes place off screen. Phew! This thing stinks.

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Creature - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, grisly images, some sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief drug use.
Director: Fred Andrews
Writer
: Fred Andrews; Tracy Morse
Cast: Sid Haig;Mehcad Brooks; Amanda Fuller; Aaron Hill; Lauren Schneider; Serinda Swan
Genre: Horror
Memorable Movie Quote:
"My dad was way all into this stuff."
Tagline:
Terror Has Teeth.
Distributor:
The Bubble Factory
Official Site:
www.creaturethemovie.com
Release Date: September 9, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Plot Synopsis: An ex-Navy seal (Mehcad Brooks), his girlfriend (Serinda Swan) and their friends head out on a road trip to New Orleans. The group decides to stop at a roadside convenience store owned by Chopper (Sid Haig), who tells them the tale of Lockjaw, a fabled god-like creature who is half-man, half-alligator.

The legend has it that an inbred local man by the name of Grimley (Daniel Bernhardt) lost his family to a monstrous white alligator, which then drove him to madness and some believe he was transformed into that very creature that now haunts the depths of the swamps. Their curiosity peaked, the group decides to play along with the local tourist trap and journey deep into the backwoods to find the old dilapidated cabin which is supposed to be the birthplace of the creature.

As they set-up camp for the night, their faith is put to the test when Lockjaw turns out to be more than just a myth and they realize the locals are hiding a horrifying secret that jeopardizes them all.

Directed by Fred M. Andrews and starring Mehcad Brooks, Serinda Swan, Amanda Fuller, Dillon Casey, Lauren Schneider, Aaron Hill, Daniel Bernhardt, and Sid Haig, CREATURE introduces a new monster legend into the horror film lexicon.

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No blu-ray/DVD details available

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