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Creek, The (2008)

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The Creek reviewReviewed 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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7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here

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Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar

Directed by Kimble Rendall


If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?

Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.

We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.

All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.

  • Film
2.5

Summary

A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE

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Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.

What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic

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Starring Father Gabriele Amorth

Directed by William Friedkin


Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.

It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.

The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?

In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.

Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.

Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.

Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!

As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.

  • The Devil and Father Amorth
2.0

Summary

See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.

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