Creature Of Darkness:
Creature is getting kicked into the dirt over at Amazon.com, with a number of one-star reviews penned by really angry viewers. Hey, what did Creature Of Darkness ever do to you, chumps? Why don't you pick on movies your own size anyway? It's quite amusing, witnessing the bile and sheer hatred a bad movie can whip up among those who relish having their voices heard all free-and-easy on the Internet. The truth is, no bit of Internet criticism arrives without a small grain of truth, and frankly yes, Creature is a bad movie, some might even say it's very bad, but should it throw you into a rage? Only if you're off your meds, boyo.
Because there's no way anyone watching could be fooled into thinking it's a serious attempt at sci-fi horror. You might be fooled by the DVD cover, but then looking upon the generic/ derivative artwork, evoking Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, really should be enough to disabuse you of any notions of greatness. Nonetheless, after about two minutes watching, you'll be aware you're in for something ... unique. After a weird, groovy titles-sequence (the best part of the movie) the true horror begins. We find a random group of clichéd young adults on a camping trip of unspecified purpose. There's no conceivable reason why these folks should even be socializing, let alone hanging out in the woods together under some mysterious pretext. Unfortunately there's also a crash-landed alien predator on a trophy-collecting mission nearby (hmmm).
It's a simple set-up, to be sure, and one without a lick of originality. Actors who aren't quite up to snuff, though they're not egregiously terrible, perform the story. Devon Sawa in the lead role is particularly decent, though most of the blame needs to be placed in the hands of director/ screenwriter Mark Stouffer. In addition to ripping off a superior, decades-older movie, Stouffer's loaded his movie with half-hearted dialog, scenes of padding that are truly uncalled for, and possibly the silliest monster put on screen in the last 20 years.
We're even going to give a pass for the half-hearted dialog, as it's something we come to expect from such movies, no matter how much it derails the experience. But do we really need so many shots of our kids cruising around on their motor scooters, dune buggies and other lawn-mower engine-powered gimcracks? Do we really need long scenes of the girls funk-dancing around the campfire while they talk about boys? In fact the powerful stupidity of this scene alone virtually sinks the entire movie. Throw in what seems like lame temp track music that tends to take up more space than it should, and you've got the beginnings of a rough night.
You can end that rough night through Predator-style POV alien-night-vision, a far preferable option to actually seeing the alien. It's not that it has a bad design, the evil latex head is quite stylish, if not a bit low-budget, and seen too much. But it might be how the alien constantly appears looming up the road, bathed in smoke and dramatically backlit. Yes, it's a little funny, and when the alien starts whipping his spinal-cord lasso around, it gets a bit funnier. Throw that sucker in an I Know What You Did Last Summer fisherman's coat and hat and you've lost all credibility, but it's still damn funny. And that pretty much sums up Creature Of Darkness, it's funny, ridiculous, low budget and clunky. These attributes aren't always looked-for in a sci-fi horror film, but they're not wholly unwelcome on a fun night with the TV. That's why we think this Creature might actually be worth your time.
I'd love to know exactly how much money sending out for review DVD-ROMs versus final product saves. Because in reality delivering a hamstrung product out for what is essentially a product review is a bad idea. That said, Creature comes in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen. Visual quality is OK, I guess, but doesn't reflect on how final product will look.
Audio is similarly non-representative of final product, but I will say that the musical soundtrack seems mixed a little too intrusively.
No extras were included on our DVD-ROM disc.
Creature Of Darkness is a sci-fi horror movie that borrows heavily from the Predator franchise. It borrows the premise, yet eschews any of the art or skill involved in creating the Schwarzenegger actioner. What it does include is plenty of unintentional humor, artless Alien iconography aping, and a bunch of just-OK acting in the service of not-OK screenwriting. Approach this movie with caution, and a pint of beer, and you may forgive yourself if you Rent It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com