Creature (2011)

Creature ReviewStarring Mehcad Brooks, Serinda Swan, Sid Haig, Amanda Fuller, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Daniel Bernhardt

Directed by Fred M. Andrews

Attack the Block. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Troll Hunter. Rare Exports. Hatchet. Let the Right One In. Rec. Rec 2. Trick ‘r Treat. None of those movies were able to secure a wide theatrical release; yet, here’s Creature on 1,500 screens this weekend.

An R-rated rubber suit monster movie with no name stars (apologies to Sid Haig) and even less advertising; here it is most likely playing at a theater near you. As much as I’d like to applaud the makers and distributors of Creature for accomplishing this feat, I just rattled off a list of vastly superior genre films far more deserving of such a wide release. I firmly believe the filmmakers had their hearts in the right place when conceiving their film, but I don’t have a clue where their heads were when they convinced themselves they had made a movie that belonged anywhere near the big screen. Last week when I reviewed Shark Night 3D, I tempered my rating because I could not justify why anybody should be expected to pay theatrical prices for something that felt like it should have gone direct-to-DVD. Now here’s Creature on the big screen, a movie that I can’t even justify why anybody should pay to watch it on DVD.

I’ve stated my love for swamp monster movies on numerous occasions. How many reviews have I written decrying the lack of old fashioned rubber monster effects work? Good or bad, even if just to laugh at its shortcomings, a b-monster movie like this should be fun to watch. Creature is dull, witless, horribly written, not scary and, worst of all, doesn’t even make good use of its monster.

As much as I’ve advocated the use of practical suitmation over CGI because it allows for more interaction between the actors and the monster, one of the biggest problems with Creature is there’s still not much physical interaction between the actors and the creature. It does as much posing and posturing as a monster challenging the Power Rangers but barely lays a claw on anyone before the climax. I wanted to see this scaly monstrosity spend more time stomping other people than merely stomping about. This gator is all growl and no bite.

Even more puzzling to me is how the makers were fully committed to the R rating, what with a multitude of f-bombs and girls flashing their small boobies. Yet, when it came to delivering on gore, they got shockingly prudish. Most of the deaths take place off-camera; in a few instances you don’t even see so much as the bloody aftermath of its attack. Why not just ditch R-rated elements altogether, shoot for a PG-13, and have it truly be an old fashioned monster movie in the vein of Creature from the Black Lagoon? The filmmakers claim that was their goal, but this feels more like a backwoods slasher flick along the lines of Hatchet.

A carload of young characters (as boring as the creature suit is rubbery) are on their way to New Orleans when they make a stop at a backwater store, where they learn about the local legend of a half-man/half-alligator named “Lockjaw” said to prowl the bayou. One of the friends is even more familiar with the legend and reveals in detail via voiceover/flashback how the last member of an inbred family magically transformed into an insane man-gator after killing and eating the albino alligator that ate his incestuously impregnated child bride. And after hearing that story, who wouldn’t want to take a detour to visit the shack in the swamp where it was all said to have happened?

Fifty very sluggish minutes go by before much of anything really ever happens. They go to the house. Set up camp. Smoke some pot. Experience some lame jump scares. Contend with spiders and snakes. A half-hearted lesbian seduction takes place. Rednecks bicker over whether any of these outsiders are worthy of being sacrificed. Any appearances “Lockjaw” makes during this time are just that – appearances.

Between Shark Night and Creature this marks the second week in a row where Louisiana swamp people are portrayed as the most cretinous of cretins. Sid Haig does get to ham it up a little as “Chopper”, the leader of some constantly yelping yokels who are all part of a cult that worships at the altar of “Lockjaw” for reasons too convoluted and uninteresting to even bother explaining. Remember Children of the Corn? Think of these folks as Cajuns of the Muck.

The movie remains on life support until the closing minutes, when there’s finally some monster fighting action to get the blood pumping. That fight promptly gets the rug – or should I say the mud – pulled out from under it in the most contrived manner possible, a manner that doesn’t even allow for us to get a full view of what exactly went down, and I do mean that in the literal sense.

I love monster movies like Creature. I want to support monster movies like Creature. I want more monster movies like Creature. I just want them to be better monster movies than Creature.

1 out of 5

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  • Uncle Creepy

    So apparently we and whoever gave the movie a bad review are nothing but bottom feeders and who run lowbrow websites. Um, hello Fred … we bottom feeding lowbrow sites were the only ones who were paying any attention to your film(!) to begin with, that is before it became such a disaster that even the mainstream press had to chime in to mock and exploit your truly unfortunate failure.


  • Tristan Sinns

    You nailed it Foy – I walked into this completely blind as to what to expect (hadn’t seen the trailer or read a thing about it), and found it to be downright awful.

    I think film’s like these are made without scripts; they literally just make the thing up as it went along. Just plain bad.

  • Trevor Anderson

    Ya I agree with this review, as far as the Creature not being in the movie very much. The problem is how this movie was sold and what it actually is. They try to take horror cliches and turn them on their side, which I though they were somewhat successful doing. There’s a cerebral story in this one, and it’s unfortunate because it probably would have been better had it just been a hack and slash monster flick. But I like that they tried this. The Creature is really just a means to an end, and ask yourself who the real monsters in the movie were (oh boy that’s too much)? That’s really what they were trying for here. I came out of it on the other end than you, Foy, but I completely understand the complaints and the 1 knife rating. Check out my review here if you’re interested on a slightly different outlook: Creature Review.

    • Foywonder

      Having read your take on it I honestly think you’re reading way too much into things and in doing so confused basic bad filmmaking with nuance.

      • Trevor Anderson

        I disagree with you. Read a few interviews with the director and you’ll see that the movie was planned to be the way it is. I’m not saying it’s great, cause ya it totally misses on the scares and gore, but they did work a nice story and twist out of the whole thing. I don’t understand why they made everything happen off screen, and there are many bad choices in this movie, but also some good ones. That being said I did read into the story more than others, but I’m certain you were supposed to.

        To be fair I’ll give you a quick example without big spoilers. There’s some tho, so you’ve been warned. Lauren Schneider’s character Karen isn’t accepted by the creature, whereas the other two girls are. Why? Well they took the horror standard “if you’re bad and have sex you die” and applied it in a slightly different way here. She was overtly sexual, think back now after having seen it on her showing her breasts to Sid Haig’s character. Then she tries to seduce Amanda Fuller’s character as well. (According to the horror standard I’m sure everyone thought when they were in the tent that they were both gonna die for their lesbianism.) She’s not innocent like the creature’s original sister/bride. But instead of just a mindless death because of her “bad sexuality” like in Friday the 13th’s or its knock-offs (which is still fun and ok in my book) it gets worked into the story. There’s a reason for it. That is nuance and can be found throughout the film.

        • Foywonder

          Well, I didn’t read any interviews with the director beforehand. If there was subtext I was supposed to be picking up on every last bit of it was lost in the muck of tedium and incoherence that was the mess they put screen and I seriously doubt you’re going to ever meet many other people out there that will agree with your description of the movie as cerebral.

          • Trevor Anderson

            Well I can’t disagree with you there! Seems a lot of people didn’t look past what they were expecting from this. Since it didn’t deliver what they wanted or really what the advertising promised it is a failure in that sense. I only read the interviews after seeing it and not beforehand as well. I already know fans that have agreed with my take on the film, but for the majority it doesn’t matter, it just falls too short on too many levels. Had there been more gore in it would you look at it differently?

          • Foywonder

            You are so hung up on this notion that everyone who didn’t like the movie hates it because it wasn’t what they expected that you’ve convinced yourself that has to be the only explanation as to why the majority you speak of disagree with your notion that Creature has brains. You know what the only expectation was – an entertaining monster movie. Nothing else matters, smart, dumb, gory, etc. Even the majority of the people that have enjoyed the movie praise it strictly in b-movie Joe Bob Briggs drive-in monster movie terms and not because they think its the smartest horror movie of the year. Videodrome is a cerebral horror movie. Pontypool is a cerebral horror movie.

          • Trevor Anderson

            I never said that and am not certain that it makes any sense. As you said above an entertaining movie is all that matters and you’re right. But it’s also what you find entertaining that matters as well. I’m not disagreeing with your review of the film.

            Entertaining is a broad term. Smart, dumb and gory all fit under it and so are important. Now the importance of each of those is determined by expectations. That’s why advertising and targeting audiences is so important to films doing well in the box office.

            I don’t think that because people didn’t get what they expected or that the movie fell short of their expectations that’s the reason they don’t think there was any thought put into it. From what I read (even in your review) people’s expectations were for a gory monster movie. This was rated R after all. When the film goes on for 40-50 minutes with no sign of promised monster mayhem you know you’re in trouble. Again that doesn’t mean, by your own words, that the movie was smart or not. Being smart didn’t make or break the movie. Of course no one saw Creature anyhow as they’re estimating $300K for it’s opening weekend. The thing that seems to have hurt people’s outlook is due to the strange choice of nudity, cutting away from the gore and the absence of the Creature. The first half of the movie was all setup and no payoff. I think Creature would have been better served as a short film. But regardless my question stands, had the movie delivered the fun gore that Hatchet went for, would it have been more liked?

          • Foywonder

            Some people would liked it more for certain if it had more gore. If the kills had been inventive at least that would have been something visually stimulating to break up the monotony but my review would have still be pretty much the same because the problems run far deeper than it just needing to be bloodier. I still don’t understand why keep banging the bang the drum in defense of a movie even you concede is anything but good.

          • Trevor Anderson

            Fair enough. I just like talking movies, good or bad. I’m not championing Creature here, just trying to have a conversation about it. Thanks for the words, it was fun.

          • Foywonder

            No problem. Maybe next time we’ll talk about a good movie we can both agree on.

  • Emy

    Aw, dang!

    I was really hoping this would be good. I guess this week might be the one when the entertainment money can be put towards Columbiana (I read it was good old dumb action fun).

  • Rob

    Spoilers, just in case anyone cares.

    Foy, you forgot to mention how Mehcad Brooks not only gets shot in the leg, he gets pummeled twice as horribly as Dylan Dog did in Dead of Night, and somehow is still able to not only crawl back out of some deep mudhole, he does so after ripping off Lockjaw’s jaw with his bare hands. Off screen, of course.

    This was insanely disappointing and the exact opposite of Attack the Block, which was gloriously awesome.

  • Uncle Creepy

    An incoherent mess from beginning to end. The least fun monster movie I’ve ever sat through.

  • nazo

    I wasn’t really looking forward to it, because I didn’t know it existed until a few days ago, but that’s still a shame.

  • PrairieGhost

    Damn and I was looking forward to this! I will still give it a watch and suffer through it.

  • Vanvance1

    This review had some serious passion behind it.

    This time I’m going to listen and pass on ‘Creature’.

    It’s sad because it isn’t a sequel, a remake or a CGI crapfest like so many of the genre films we get. Ah well.

    • Foywonder

      Believe me, ask anyone that knows me, I knew Creature didn’t stand a prayer at the box office and could only laugh at the notion the filmmakers believed otherwise but I was still holding out hope that it would at least be a fun throwback monster movie because this is precisely the sort of movie I’ve wanted to see on a big screen again for a long time. But this – this is not the movie I wanted. My review barely even scratches the surface of how lame it is. Characters just vanish without a trace. None of the cult crap makes any sense. The movie has so many endings I expected the last one to be Mehcad Brooks returning to the Shire. The monster barely does anything. I went in wanting to like this movie and I began feeling like a balloon slowly leaking air with every passing minute. Just a depressing experience.

      • Cinemascribe

        “The movie has so many endings I expected the last one to be Mehcad Brooks returning to the Shire.”

        I almost hurt myself, I laughed so hard when I read that. That’s awesome. Wow.

  • theGoldenSimatar

    Getting it at my theater today; gonna catch it after work sometime this weekend.

    • Foywonder

      Why do I suddenly feel like the creepy old man in a horror movie that tries to warn the attractive teenagers to turn around and go back the direction they can and when they ignore him and keep going mutters under his breath, “You’ll be sorry.”

      • theGoldenSimatar

        Foy, I’m 23 with a Burt Reynolds mustache, glasses and short curly hair. I’m the pleasantly handsome nerd in the group, no the attractive one. But thank you 🙂

        But in all honesty, I can see it for free and since I finished college and got a few days before going back home and trying to hop onto a set….might as well.

        I’ve seen a lot of bad movies for free working at a movie theater (only Meet the Spartans has ever made me walk out at the end and demand from a manager money back or 90minutes of my life) and a lot of movies I’m curious about and necessarily wouldn’t pay to watch in the theater or rent the DVD.

  • Terminal

    Great final lines Foy. Exactly how I feel. I thought “Creature” was incredibly limp and void of any monster carnage that the promos for this promoted. One knife is right.

    • The Woman In Black

      Yep, that’s my score as well. One of the year’s biggest disappointments thus far.