I’m surprised director Fred Andrews’ low-budget horror flick “Creature” managed to get theatrical distribution. Wide distribution, at that. This isn’t the sort of motion picture you’d ever want to pay premium price to see on the big screen. No, it’s something you’d watch late at night on Netflix streaming during a particularly sinister bought of insomnia. In fact, I feel quite sorry for the unfortunate individuals who forked portions of their entertainment budget to see this in the cinema, as it should have been sent direct to SyFy, followed by an unrated DVD and/or Blu-ray release so everyone can have some boobies. You know it’s true.
That having been said, “Creature” isn’t a terrible monster movie when compared to its brethren. Sure, it’s unoriginal, poorly paced, and weak on gore, but it’s still a serviceable creature feature that manages to entertain despite the numerous flaws working against it. I certainly don’t regret having watched the flick, but I seriously doubt I’ll waste another 90 minutes of my life watching it again. That’s because there’s nothing remotely memorable about the feature, right down to its lazy off-screen kills and some ill-conceived make-up effects. Like I said, it gets the job done, but that’s all. I know I’m sending mixed signals, and I apologize for that.
The plot unfolds like the bastard lovechild of Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” and Adam Green’s “Hatchet”. Two couples and an obnoxious pair of siblings embark on a road trip into the middle of absolutely nowhere. Along the way, they stop at an ominous mom-and-pop gas station filled with bizarre bric-a-brac — including a stuffed half-man half-half alligator — and a peculiar collection of rednecks. After learning about a strange local legend involving a sad man and his nonsensical transformation into a hideous, blood-thirsty monster, Sid Haig draws them a map to the creature’s birthplace. After some gratuitous sex and debauchery, our heroes are systemically devoured by this deeply depressed swamp beast.
When it comes to this sort of stuff, I’m not really looking for anything overly original. I just want a good monster, some decent kills, and a snappy pace. Despite what this review may suggest, I’m really not that hard to please. “Creature”, however, rides that fine line between unintentional comedy and unmitigated boredom; everything that happens over the course of the feature has been done to freaking death, right down to the inane storyline and Sid Haig handing out directions to dangerous rural locales. Had the kills been a bit more inventive and in-your-face, I wouldn’t care that they were built on a framework that’s been used to greater effect in other movies. If you’re going to be generic, at least have fun with it.
Should you waste your precious free time with something as middling as “Creature”? Well, that really depends on the individual. If you don’t like monster movies, there’s really nothing here to recommend. Everything about the film is super cheap, right down to the titular villain itself. How impossibly disappointing. Even hardcore creature feature fanatics will have a difficult time justifying the film’s existence. However, as someone who watches SyFy original movies on a fairly regular basis, I didn’t mind “Creature” so much. It’s nothing to tell your mainstream-loving friends about, mind you, but you could, in theory, do worse. I think.
Fred Andrews (director) Fred Andrews and Tracy Morse (screenplay)
CAST: Mehcad Brooks … Niles
Serinda Swan … Emily
Dillon Casey … Oscar
Lauren Schneider … Karen
Aaron Hill … Randy
Amanda Fuller … Beth
Wayne Pére … Bud
David Jensen … Jimmy
Pruitt Taylor Vince … Grover
Daniel Bernhardt … Grimley
Sid Haig … Chopper