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CREATURE
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Fred Andrews

Starring:
Mehcad Brooks
Serinda Swan
Aaron Hill
Sid Haig

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Six “friends” on a road trip through the Bayous of Louisiana stop at a sideshow attraction and decide to investigate the area’s legendary Lockjaw, a bigfoot-type creature with an alligator face. Upon their investigation, shit gets real when the creature shows up and ever-so-slowly begins picking them off one-by-one.
Is it good movie?
Monster movies, no matter how good or bad, usually deliver an entertaining good time. Whether you’re a fan of the classics (JAWS) or the modern-day classics on the SyFy Channel (MEGA PIRANHA, 2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK), there’s something fun about watching an unstoppable killing machine take out a cast of characters without any sign of slowing down. Monster movies have more longevity than, say, torture movies, and they’ll even be around longer than cannibal movies—because whether or not you’re a horror fan, most people seem to like the monster genre. CREATURE is a monster movie that tries to also entice the torture porn / cannibal fans out there, and while it’s better than shite like SHARK NIGHT in terms of its monster movie madness, it’s mostly a turkey with no gobble.

Actually, there’s a lot to like in CREATURE and if they only decided to take the monster and the kills one step further, this flick would be sitting in the monster movie hall of fame. But instead of going full throttle, they held back on the kills and the gore, and for a movie like this, a move like that absolutely takes away any chance of it being a great monster movie, and simply categorizes it as “OK”. The good: the flick had enough sense to be exploitive in its T&A, delivering plenty of gratuitous nudity from beginning to end and even throwing in a semi-hot girl-on-girl sequence that somewhat came out of nowhere. Yes! Then amidst all the nude hotness the filmmakers take it to a whole other level of extreme and throw in incestual hotness which is actually not hot all but rather really f*cking disturbing. And yet, going in the direction of having a sister give her brother a tug job while peeping another couple getting it on is pretty damn ballsy and for that, I’ll give CREATURE some mad props.

Too bad the ballsiness of incest T&A didn’t bleed over into how it handled the creature of Lockjaw and its kills. This is where the film falls flat. Looking beyond the weaksauce look of the creature (i.e., a rubber suit with attached mask), it’s the utter blahness of the kills and the lack of blood and gore. Sure, there’s a blood splat here and there, but for the most part all the moneyshots happen off-screen or, worse yet, the real bodily damage scenes are all handled with a cut-away. Was this R rated movie made for TV? I would have thought so if it weren’t for all the swearing and the titties, because based on the uber-weak gore and violence, this shit could have aired on cable TV. And for a monster movie like CREATURE, taking the joy away of a monster laying the smackdown on its prey is a downright shame.

The “friends”, of course, aren’t really much friends at all, and actually the whole group dynamic is a little hard to follow. There’s a brother and sister, and then another brother and sister, and a fiancé, and a girlfriend. But nothing is laid out as such, it’s all dropped by vague conversational exposition that isn’t immediately clear. And when there’s a key sequence of brother-on-sister action, it’s best not to have said sister call the dude “little brother” earlier on right after calling some other chick “little sister” -- I couldn’t tell whether she called everybody brother and sister, or if they were actually brother and sister! But no matter, everyone sucks in this movie, which is great, because it’s a monster movie and they’re the main course.

The shining light, of course, was the presence of genre-friendly Sid Haig, who plays the roughnecked hillbilly about as masterfully as they come. And the main chick, Serinda Swan, is smokin’ hot and has more talent in her elbow than the rest of her schlocky cast mates, which is really saying something considering how “OK” she was (but damn fine to look at). And I suppose some attention show be given to Daniel Bernhardt, who portrays the backwoods legend in both its human and creature form. Not much attention, mind you, but some—nothing spectacular or memorable is done with the creature, but anyone who has to work in a big ol’ rubber suit like that for hours on end deserves some damn respect!

Video / Audio
Video: Presented in a crisp 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, looking as sharp and vibrant as any other big-budget Hollywood movie.

Audio: Because the movie relies on the off-screen sound effects to get its creature effects across, the sound here (mixed in 5.1 surround sound) is solid, delivering everything you'd expect from a flick like this.

The Extras
Making the Monster: Featurette explores the actor and effects portraying the monster of Lockjaw, as well as a short history on the background of the character. There's more insight into the character of Lockjaw here than there is in the actual movie. If you wanted more from the creature than the movie has to offer, then.. here you go.

On the Bayou: An in-depth history on bringing the story of Lockjaw and CREATURE from the script to the big screen, with interviews from the filmmakers, the cast, and the crew. Again, you'll get more out of the story and the creature part of the movie from this featurette than the actual movie itself.

The Filmmakers: You've probably never heard of director Fred Andrews before, but this here featurette is here to tell you that he's done other shite before and with CREATURE, he's totally in his element. Or... is he? Plus, get a little closer look at the actors--who they are, where they came from, and where they're going.

Last Call
CREATURE tries to be an epic monster movie, and that was certainly the intentions of the filmmakers, but it falls rather short of being something awesome—and hits somewhere around being bland. With plenty of boobs and clichéd WRONG TURN and CABIN FEVER-like scenarios regarding small town gas stations, CREATURE has its entertaining moments, but not enough to catapult the film into the realm of classic (or even midnight) monster movies.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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