MTI // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Carlton (Retired) // March 19th, 2010
Whatever it is, it's hunting us.
Creature of Darkness is an indie horror film that serves up exactly what one would expect. It is fairly satisfying and requires no deep thought on the part of the viewer. Although the idea of people being hunted by a monster isn't anything new, it managed to keep me interested, thanks to a well designed monster and the enthusiastic efforts by all involved.
Andrew is having nightmares; really bad ones about a giant green monster. These nightmares started when his late uncle told him an abduction story about a creature called The Catcher, who was sent from another galaxy to collect human specimens for a museum in space. Andrew's friends bring him to the location of the nightmares in an attempt to rid the fear by facing it head on. Well whaddaya know? It turns out that The Catcher exists and has come to collect. With only a few weapons, the group of campers must fight to stay alive any way they know how. Yada, yada, yada.
Creature of Darkness is a low-budget horror film that will instantly remind you of Predator upon viewing. We have a group of people in an outdoor environment being hunted by an alien and being taken out one by one. We even get the alien's point of view and in this case, the alien sees everything in a green, semi-blurry computerization. The difference is that this film was probably made for a fourth of what Predator cost. Scratch that. More like a four-hundredth of the cost, but don't let that deter you from giving this one a chance. If you are someone like me who can sit through Raptor Island or Mega Snake on the SyFy Channel and say "That was pretty good," then Creature of Darkness will be right up your alley.
Similar to a SyFy presentation, we get good (not stellar) acting, some minor gore, and an extra-cheesy story. I must have a special place in my heart for movies about aliens gathering humans for a space zoo because I totally went along with this film. Anytime a crew of over a hundred puts this much work into a grade B horror flick, I have to give it a viewing for the dedication alone. Creature of Darkness doesn't ask much of the viewer and its singular goal is to entertain without making you think too hard. Sometimes it's good to watch a film that doesn't have any deep meaning or require any thought whatsoever. The story is about as cut and dry as they come and that's okay.
The best part of Creature of Darkness is the creature itself, which looks like a cross between an insect and a very angry Cad Bane (yes, I'm a nerd). However, this 'insect' is lanky, wears odd clothes to hide its appearance, and walks on two legs. The close-ups of the animatronic monster look extremely detailed and well constructed. The downside is that the details weren't replicated in the live action shots, as there is a clear distinction between the physical monster used early in the film and the CG monster used later. None of this is really bothersome because the action scenes were creative, considering the budget restraints. I had never seen a fight between an alien and guys in a dune buggy, so it worked for me.
In order for the screenplay to work, the writers had to give The Catcher has a few powers. After the first killing or two, the campers try to leave, but soon realize that the monster can make sinkholes appear in the ground wherever it likes, thus forcing the humans to stay near the camp. If the monster didn't have this particular power, the survivors would simply drive away. Roll credits. So, we have to accept that this race of monster can make object or environment change shape, but for some reason must hunt the old-fashioned way. Whatever. The Creature sprays green goo on its victims when it attacks, so that makes up for any goofy power it might have.
My DVD was a screener copy, so there were no extras besides a trailer to comment on. Nor can I accurately comment on the picture and sound since this isn't a final version of the disc.
If you have the ability to watch a horror flick without picking it to pieces, give this a shot. Creature of Darkness isn't a film I'll watch again anytime soon, but I did enjoy it and applaud the efforts involved.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R