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Friday
Sep092011

Creature

I feel like I would be able to survive a horror movie situation, if not avoid one altogether. I’ve seen enough movies to know when to run, when to fight, when to hide and when to not camp out in the middle of a Louisiana swamp where, legend has it, a terrifying creature stalks and kills those who venture into its territory. Of course, the characters in the imaginatively titled Creature don’t have the same smarts us movie watchers do. You’d think when the crazy knife wielding hillbilly with deformed hands tells them the local legend is true, they’d listen up (especially when he’s standing next to Sid Haig), but they don’t and their stupidity eventually leads to their demises. But if you’re really interested enough in this movie to read this review, you already knew that, didn’t you?

As the legend goes, an incestuous family lived alone in their little shack in the Louisiana swamp. They kept to themselves and away from the outside world. The area they lived in was very dangerous and their numbers had dwindled down to two, a brother and sister who planned on continuing their bloodline together, but one day, an alligator took the woman and killed her. In his rage, the now alone brother found the alligator in its lair and killed it. Suddenly, something compelled him to eat the flesh the beast had left behind. Naturally, this mutated him into a half alligator, half human hybrid, which totally makes sense.

A family that lived alone in the Louisiana swamp, suffered a tragedy and now kills those who come near? Sounds an awful lot like Hatchet, almost to the point of plagiarism, but as the movie goes on, you realize the two are stark contrasts. In Creature, the acting sucks, the dialogue is terrible and the characters lack personality. In Hatchet, the characters are funny, the dialogue is witty and the acting is, well, serviceable. Creature wishes it could have half the entertainment value of that film, but it ignores the paths to success and decides to merely exist, destined to be forgotten quicker than the time it takes to watch it.

In my mind, those paths are clearly defined. A horror movie can become quality if it is 1) scary, 2) funny or 3) so stupidly over-the-top violent as to be fun, but Creature is none of those things. In all fairness, it doesn’t make much of an attempt at humor, but its scares are lame, mostly relegated (as usual with these things) to startling jumps with loud musical cues. Its utter lack of anything frightening whatsoever stems from an uninteresting creature whose impact on the kids is negligible at best. With the spiders, snakes, alligators and aggressive human behavior to worry about, the creature ends up being the least of their problems. The design of the thing is so silly (it’s very reminiscent of old school creature features where grown men walked around in rubber suits), you’ll quickly realize the scariest thing in the movie is a sinkhole.

As for the violence, most is off-screen, which seems to go against the very essence of the film. From the very first scene, where a pretty lady strips completely nude and is shown in all her glory, Creature hints that what comes next will be exploitatively gratuitous, both in sexuality and violence, but it only succeeds in the former. (Every single female in this movie gets naked at some point. And the girl-on-girl make out scene? That’s a bonus.)

Even by such a simple standard, Creature fails. It really thinks it’s something, but it’s nothing more than a B-movie that doesn’t want to admit it. It has the occasional moment of fun, but it’s so poorly put together, it can’t keep it up. There are noticeable jump cuts (a supposedly knocked out woman’s head changes direction in relation to the camera) and the story is only so-so, with an obvious story twist that should be easily figured out by anyone paying attention to the relationships of the kids in peril. From its title to its forgettable monster, Creature is unimaginative in nearly every possible way.

Creature receives 1/5