Creature Unknown



Starring Chase Masterson, Maggie Grace, Cory Hardrict, Betty Okino, John Keyser

Directed by Michael Burnett


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A group of good-looking twenty-something types head out into the woods for a camping trip only to be stalked and killed by some…

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Oh, I’m sorry. I dozed off there for a moment just thinking about the truly tired premise to Creature Unknown. They really picked the wrong title for this movie because I assure you this creature is anything but unknown. We’ve seen it a million times before. Mostly, we’ve seen it done better.

So there’s this guy named Steve that is arranging for his high school clique to get back together for the first time in four years. Four years earlier, Steve’s twin brother Wes disappeared in the woods drunk while partying with the group at a cabin retreat. His body was never found but he was legally declared dead after his blood was found out in the woods. After that incident the gang all went their separ...

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Sorry, nodded off again. Where was I? Oh yeah, they went their separate ways after the tragic incident and now Steve is getting the gang to reunite at that same cabin in hopes of healing old wounds. Among those joining him are his ex, Amanda, and Rachel, the chain-smoking semi-goth chick that Wes used to date. Rachel uses the occasion to tell everybody off and reveal that Wes had always been in love with Amanda and jealous of Steve. Soon afterwards, she wanders out in the woods and is the first to get kil...

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Dangit, I swear I’m going to get through this. So there’s this reptilian humanoid monster in the woods that begins killing them off one at a time.

Honestly, do I really need to go any further? Isn’t it fairly obvious where this is going? If anyone can watch the first 15 minutes of Creature Unknown and not know exactly where the story is headed then they really need to get out more. The strictly run of the mill plot has but one deviation, that being an extremely far-fetched plot twist – I mean even more far-fetched than the concept of a reptilian humanoid – that is revealed during the third act. By then it is already a case of too little, too late. Once again here we have low budget filmmakers using a very generic premise that they think is worthwhile because they have come up with a "surprise" twist only they have forgotten that there is an awful lot of time that has to be filled before they even get around to that twist. The result is a cliché-filled bore.

Creature Unknown? How about Creature Uninspired?

The only semi-name actor in the movie is Chase Masterson, who has a small following amongst sci-fi fans mainly for the small role she had on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" where she portrayed an attractive human female married to a butt ugly Ferengi doofus, thus giving false hope to nerds everywhere. Still, that role was quite a step up from her part here where she turns up as a tough talking doctor that lost her medical license for conducting illegal genetic experiments to find a cure for a disease that killed her child. As with most disbarred health care practitioners she now dresses like a biker chick, rides a motorcycle, packs some serious heat, and has a secret underground lab out in the middle of nowhere. Regardless, I’m sure you can probably figure out what this izzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Again? My apologies. I just can’t help it. Creature Unknown? More like Creature Unexciting.

The monster itself is the movie’s only saving grace. Well, not really, but it is the only thing about the film I can give any credit to. The people behind Creature Unknown were smart enough to use an old-fashioned rubber monster suit instead of shoddy CGI and the end result is actually a pretty good lizard man costume even if it isn’t particularly distinctive. It would have looked really good if this were a 1950’s black and white creature feature and that kind of seems to be along the lines of the sort of monster movie the filmmakers were going for, albeit with some gore and gratuitous nudity thrown in. Not enough to save it, mind you, because this is yet another monster movie where the monster spends most of the time just lurking about instead of actually doing anything, occassionally ambushing victims with a little hack and slash and even much of the killing occurs off camera. A decent monster gone to waste. And judging by the number of blurry Evil Dead-style POV shots I also suspect that the monster may have been near-sighted.

Everything about Creature Unknown felt as if it was just going through the motions. No tone. No suspense. No atmosphere. No sense of urgency. No point in watching it. Just call it Creature Uninteresting because it is nothing more than a woefully uneventful exercise in monster movie-making that is only likely to put you to sle...

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1 ½ out of 5

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