Anchor Bay // 2005 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // May 12th, 2006
It lurks...it prowls...it waits.
It sucks. (Bet you didn't see that one coming.)
The unlikeliest park ranger in the history of cinema tangles with the bastard offspring of the creature from Jeepers Creepers.
The name Cerina Vincent probably doesn't ring a bell, but there's a good chance you're familiar with her body of work. Cerina Vincent is the actress who spent most of Not Another Teen Movie walking around bare-assed naked and rode Rider Strong in Cabin Fever. You know, the really hot one. The one with the really huge breasts. Yeah, her. Well, she's the star of It Waits, and she spends most of this movie running around in tight tank top. Sounds like a can't-miss scenario, doesn't it? Yeah, that's what I thought too. Then I saw the movie.
Here's the gist of what happens: Some college kids accidentally release a creature out of Native American legend from the cave in which it's been trapped for the past thousand years. The creature starts slaughtering campers, and it also decides to terrorize park ranger Danny St. Clair (that would be Vincent). The creature destroys St. Clair's communications dish and wrecks her boyfriend's jeep (the boyfriend is a fellow ranger who comes to visit her shortly before everything goes to hell), effectively cutting her off from the rest of the park's rangers, who are off battling a forest fire. (Given its actions in isolating St. Clair, I'd say the creature spent its time in captivity studying modern communications systems and the workings of the internal combustion engine.) The creature taunts the rangers by dumping a couple of corpses on the roof of St. Clair's tower. The boyfriend decides to walk back to ranger headquarters for help, but not before he gets St. Clair liquored up and nails her, so at least he gets to die a happy man. In a scene lifted almost shot for shot from Alien 3, St. Clair finally encounters the creature. The creature wounds St. Clair's leg, but she gets away and limps back to the tower (this limp will come and go for the rest of the flick). St. Clair stands outside in the middle of a thunderstorm, hoping a lightning strike will ignite a fire nearby, thereby causing some of her fellow rangers to come investigate (why she doesn't simply start a fire herself is beyond me). St. Clair then strings up some empty tin cans around the perimeter of her tower as a sort of early warning system. (The scene in which she dumps the contents of these tin cans indicates that much of her food supply consisted of baked beans, which I guess means the boyfriend got more than he bargained for whenever he spent the night.) Even though it's clear she's never fired a gun before, St. Clair manages to wound the creature, after which she follows the trail of goo left by the injured beast. Outside the creature's cave she meets a college professor who explains the creature's origins, which don't make a damn bit of sense. The professor also says the creature is afraid of water, which is why it never ventures out in the rain. It's then at least another twenty minutes before the final showdown, which is extremely anticlimactic and takes place partially in a rain shower.
The vast majority of modern horror flicks are boring and stupid, and It Waits is a modern horror flick, so its stands to reason that one could use those two adjectives to describe this movie, correct? Absolutely. The running time of this movie is 88 minutes, and I'd say only about one-fourth of that is action, and more than half of that comes in the final reel. Hell, it takes a good forty-five minutes for the heroine to even come face to face with her nemesis, as most of the movie's first half consists of scenes of Vincent's character mourning the death of her best friend. See, the friend died in an alcohol-induced crash after a night of partying in Vegas; Vincent and the friend's parrot (who was apparently wearing its seatbelt) managed to walk away unscathed. As a result, Vincent now mopes about, doing little more than crying, downing vodka, and listening to the parrot recite phrases the dead friend taught it. Whoopee! I'm sorry, but if you make a horror cheapie featuring a big-boobed heroine and a rubber-suited monster, you don't have your big-boobed heroine spend most of her time sitting around bemoaning her lot in life. (If I want a boring horror tale featuring characters who do nothing but gaze at their own navels, I'll read an Anne Rice book.)
Anyone who picks up this disc is going to notice three things on the packaging: a photo of the creature, a photo of a burning car, and a photo of Cerina Vincent's chest. These three images lead to certain expectations, and these expectations are never met. The movie contains almost no gore, and what little gore you do get is extremely tame. As I said above, there's very little action. And, worst of all, Cerina Vincent never takes off that tank top. Not even during the sex scene, which is one of those dull, discreet, head-and-shoulders-only affairs. I'm going to be as blunt as I possibly can here: You don't hire Cerina Vincent for her acting skills, which are pretty much nonexistent. You hire Cerina Vincent because she's hot and will take off her clothes. It's that simple. (To put it another way, finding out Cerina Vincent is in a movie but doesn't get naked is a little like finding out Jimmy Page will only be playing accordion during a Led Zeppelin reunion tour. Either way, it's not what you paid for.)
The anamorphic transfer is marred by excessive grain in the darker scenes. Despite the fact that it's touted as a 5.1 track, the audio actually sounds more like big, fat mono. There's only a minimal spread across the front speakers, and the surrounds and sub are never engaged. Extras include a laughable making-of featurette (laughable in the sense that everyone treats the movie as if it were a serious piece of cinema) and a commentary from director Steven R. Monroe (who also directed House of 9) and Cerina Vincent. Monroe has some interesting things to say about the production, while Vincent, who leaves about thirty minutes in because she has a callback (maybe she'll be naked in that role), adds absolutely nothing of note to the proceedings. And both prove themselves delusional by heaping praise on the awful songs performed by Monroe's wife. These tunes, several of which are scattered throughout the movie, sound like an adolescent girl's attempt at aping Jewel (as if the world needed that). You also get the movie's theatrical trailer and a few previews for other Anchor Bay horror releases.
One last thing: during the making-of featurette, Cerina Vincent is shown wearing a t-shirt featuring the catchphrase made famous by Teri Hatcher on Seinfeld. See, she knows where her bread-and-butter is at. Too bad the people who made this movie forgot.
It sucks. (I'm lazy. Sue me.)
There's no doubt about it -- it's guilty.
Review content copyright © 2006 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Blood on the Pines" Featurette
* Theatrical Trailer