Hide and Creep (DVD)

Reviewed by Johnny Butane

Starring Barry Austin, Chris Hartsell, Chucky Hartsell, Mia Frost, Melissa Bush

Directed by Chance Shirley & Chuck Hartsell

Released by The Asylum

It’s really hard for me to get too excited about indie zombie movies these days, there’re just way too many of them. Too many kids with access to cameras and someone that knows how to make “actors” look like the undead are churning out a lot of crap not worth mentioning.

Then comes along a movie like Hide and Creep and suddenly it’s all okay again. Directed by some friends with a small budget and a great sense of humor, Hide and Creep is the kind of funny, intelligent, and well-cast zombie movie I wish we could see more of. Of course, the fact that it’s more comedy than horror might turn some people off, but don’t forget that Shaun of the Dead was too. And if you don’t like that movie…well, you’re a commie.

The story takes place in small southern town in which the dead suddenly come back to life. A video store clerk is one of the few that actually notice what’s going on (though it does take him a while) and tries to do something about it. Meanwhile we have a group of hunters, a reverend, a naked guy, and a government agent have their own run-ins with the walking dead, which serves to keep things moving along as the dead shamble towards domination…of sorts. For a more detailed look at the film, be sure to check out my review of it right here. If you’re too lazy for that, I’ll just say this movie is damn good and you should get it. Now.

On with the DVD!

It was shot on 16mm, so the transfer Asylum did is pretty impressive, the colors and shadows are all crisp and solid. Since a good portion of it takes place in the daytime (another thing that sets it apart from other zombie films), the shadows aren’t really around too long, but it all works. The Asylum also managed to give it a 5.1 surround mix, awfully nice of them, so it sounds a lot bigger and better than it did on the screener I had for it originally.

Features on the DVD include a quick behind-the-scenes featurette, which is unfortunately just someone with a handheld following the action around. It would’ve been nice to see some on-camera interviews and such, but I doubt they thought such things would be wanted or needed for an eventual wide DVD release when they were making the movie, so it can be forgiven.

There’s also a very funny short film called “The Birthday Call” which features the lead from the movie, Chucky Hartsell, making a call to wish a friend happy birthday while there’s a zombie invasion taking place. It’s funnier than it sounds on paper, trust me.

Finally we have a commentary track with the directors, always a good thing. They’re both very good-natured guys, as you can imagine by watching the movie, and you can tell they’re just happy to be able to talk about it on a DVD, though they do say at one point that they’re pretty sure no one will ever listen to it. Well I did, guys! It’s entertaining simply because these are two friends that you can tell have known one another for a while, so it’s got a very natural feel to it. Plenty of info is laid out about the making of the film (of course) and it’s inspiration, so give it a listen when you get the chance.

The last thing I would like to comment on is the DVD artwork: I really don’t get it at all. The demon face looming in the background, the grim look on the actors faces, the bizarre color scheme; none of it says, “this is a funny zombie movie!” to me. I think this is the only place The Asylum dropped the ball, which is even more surprising since they’re usually good about making cool covers. Check out my review of the film, linked above, for what I wish they had used for the cover.

All in all, a damn solid release for a damn solid movie; I’m really glad the creators got a chance to show off their film in the best way possible (outside of a theatrical release, of course) with a DVD company with wide distro and a taste for good features. If your out at the video store one night and sick of all the other crap out there, pick this up, I can almost guarantee you’ll dig the hell out of it. Or just say “screw it” and buy it with the link below!

4 out of 5

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Johnny Butane