Reviewed by Tristan Sinns
Starring Kathryn Merry, Brian Jesiolowski, Nancy Soulliard, Dave Foster
Directed by Erik Soulliard
Ghosts are always a hazard to one’s peace of mind, but it’s even worse if they happen to be one of your best friends. It’s bad enough if you round the hallway in the middle of the night and there’s some rotten pestilent thing standing there, transparent, oozing, staring all creepy like, waiting for you to turn on the light so it can disappear in the luminescence. Worse is if you look at the thing and say, “Ralph! My god! You look like crap. Oh, wait. You’re dead, aren’t you? Hey … are you haunting me? Ahhhh, man!”
Such it is for the characters of The Creek, a new low budget creep fest directed by Erik Soulliard. Six years ago seven friends enjoyed a quaint camping trip out in the mountains. The campfire stories and marshmallow roasting were fine enough, but then someone had to get around to bashing in good friend Billy’s head with a large rock. Now, six years later, the surviving friends (many of whom are now rather estranged to one another), become simultaneously haunted by a grim-faced Billy the ghost.
These hauntings drive the friends back together, some more reluctantly than others, and after some bickering they all agree that they should revisit the camping grounds in an effort to find what needs to be done in order to put angry Billy to rest for good. Once the camping trip is made, it doesn’t take long for more of the campers to meet a bloody end, and Billy constantly lurks about looking as grim and pissed off as ever. The group struggles to survive and to figure out the mystery of just who killed Billy, and how it is they can appease his restless and unhappy spirit.
The Creek is an extremely low budget affair and it does suffer from many of the common problems that can occur with such a film. The few action scenes within the movie are one of the more obvious examples. The actors flop through these fight scenes like LARPers fighting with cardboard clubs and shields. There’s one really wincing moment where one bad guy, armed with a small board, lightly whacks two able bodied men who immediately fall to the ground, completely incapacitated. I guess the bad guy nailed his d20. It’s goofy to watch, and it just doesn’t work. People in the real world take some serious damage in order to put them on the ground, and we need to see that in film for us to stay with the movie. Fight scenes need grit in order to make people cringe; otherwise it’s like watching your two retarded brothers wrestle in the back yard for the last bag of Cheetos.
The film also suffers from some slow moments, as much of the exposition is done through long and rather drawn out conversation. There are a quite a few inactive scenes where characters simply sit and talk, discussing various theories or underlining exposition that the viewer should already know by now. I realize that this needs to be done in some manner, but it needs to be done in such a way that it doesn’t become an energy sink for the rest of the film.
Despite the problems from the low budget and its slower moments within the script, The Creek is actually much, much better than the great bulk of micro-budget films. I feel a lot of the film could have been improved simply by having a bigger purse, as well as some work in tightening of the script. Soulliard successfully creates a moody atmosphere out in the dark campground, and it is also apparent that they spent some thought on providing a wide range of characters for the viewer to see get cut down. The film also carries with it a mild twist that is somewhat amusing. Overall, The Creek is a very sincere, albeit flawed, attempt at horror filmmaking and I feel it carries with it a lot of promise for the future. I look forward to the next film!
2 1/2 out of 5
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