Inception Media Group // 2012 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // December 27th, 2012
Let The Bad Times Roll.
In need of a cheap car to get him to and from work, Campbell (Brian Kolodziej) thinks his luck is in when he sees a beat-up old van for sale. Unbeknownst to Campbell, the van belongs to a psychopath who has tricked it out with all kinds of deadly contraptions, with which he has been carrying out a spate of murders. When Campbell's girlfriend, Amy (Amy Wehrell), becomes the target of the killer's bloodlust, he must race against time to save her.
Anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted splatterfest can put their money away right now; Creep Van is not the movie you are looking for.
Nobody with even the slightest semblance of intellegence is going to expect an engrossing storyline or deep characters from a low-budget, direct-to-video release like Creep Van, but I do ask that I'm entertained in exchange for my time and money, something Creep Van failed miserably to do.
The tone set by director Scott W McKinlay suggests the film is aiming for comedy-horror territory, yet the absence of either real comedy or horror in Jim Bartoo's screenplay results in a somewhat neutured experience. In the interests of being fair, I must confess that McKinlay knows how to frame a horror movie. Regardless of how effective it is, Creep Van looks the part. Wisely, McKinlay opts to keep his killer obscured for as long as possible, which -- unless you have a wisecracking fiend a la Freddy Krueger -- is always the preferred choice. McKinlay's use of shadows also impresses, and only the harshest of critics would argue that Creep Van isn't a handsomely shot picture. Still, all talk of how well McKinlay acquits himself in this regard ultimately comes back to how it fails to produce an effective horror.
Simply put, Creep Van isn't scary in the slightest. The premise is reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof segment of Grindhouse, but attempts to play it as a more traditional horror. As is increasingly the case, Creep Van confuses excessive gore for real horror. Despite my dislike for this modern trend, there is little doubt the contributions of effects studio Almost Human Inc are the highlight of the film. Faces are sheared off, necks are sliced by seatbelts, and chests are impaled, with each captured in glorious close-up. The film's budget dictates the frequency of the splatter is less than the filmmakers would have wanted, but the quality is undeniable.
The cast, headlined by Brian Kolodziej and Amy Wehrell, is no better or worse than you would expect from a low-budget horror. Nobody stands out as being especially impressive, and some of the supporting players deliver performances barely above the level I would expect from a children's nativity play.
While the film may suck, the DVD release from Inception Media is hard to fault. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is clean, sharp, and full of detail, while the 5.1 soundtrack is clear, if unfussy. The extras included are plentiful, and begin with a commentary track where the filmmakers come together for a fun, chatty track. Two featurettes are included, "Anatomy of a Killer Van Smash" and "Creep Van: Under The Hood." There are a selection of brief interviews with the cast, and a couple of trailers.
The film's predictable conclusion perfectly sums up the uninspired, tiresome Creep Van. Even taking into account the bargain bin price, there are many better movies out there deserving of your time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Inception Media Group
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scene