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Case Number 23576: Small Claims Court

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Arc Entertainment // 2011 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // March 27th, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle interned at a backwoods convenience store.

The Charge

Sweet Home Cetera.

The Case

As a group of teens head off for a camping vacation among mother nature's finest, they learn about a local Bigfoot-like legend named Lockjaw, a half-man/half-alligator beast that roams the forests in search of blood. Heeding not a single warning the creepy gas station attendant has to offer, the kids head into the woods to get high and hump, which ends up leading to your average weekend of death and dismemberment.

Creature is as derivative a movie as you're apt to find. Writing this review is going to be fairly quick, which I suspect is about the same amount of time it takes this movie to move into the five dollar bin at Walmart. To view Creature is the equivalent of eating at a McDonald's restaurant; it's an assembly line meal that offers no surprises, no substance, and no real value (except as non-nutritive filler).

Here's the rundown on how Creature unfolds (and please, stop me if you've heard this before):

1) Teenagers go on a trip into the woods
2) Teenagers stop at a gas station run by backwoods hicks
3) Teenagers smoke pot and get naked
4) Malevolent, drooling creature attacks everyone
5) Blood, bone, and grizzle are spilled
6) End credits

No, really…this is all there is to Creature. Along the way, a few C-list stars show up (cult icon Sig Haig of The Devil's Rejects, Pruitt Taylor Vince from Season Two of The Walking Dead) to add a modicum of marquee value to the film, and I'm using the term "value" very, very loosely.

The titular "creature," Lockjaw, looks like the Lizard from The Amazing Spider-man, a really funky Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and a pair of nice alligator suitcases. Disappointingly, the character is never ever scary because—oh, how do I put this delicately?—it's clearly JUST AN ACTOR WEARING A TERRIBLY DESIGNED RUBBER SUIT. Wherever he's buried, I'm sure that Stan Winston is spinning in his grave.

Beyond all human understanding, Creature actually received a theatrical run which amassed just over $300,000 on a three million dollar budget (it's now a record holder for worst opening ever on 1,500 screens) before being unceremoniously dumped onto DVD. Is it that bad of a film? I've seen worse, but not much, especially for a movie theater owners charged ten dollars a seat for. The film is so shoddily constructed the final battle between the beast and our two heroes takes place underground…out of the audience's view…in-between a scene transition.

Look, I'm all for "teens-in-the-woods-being-chased-by-something-terrible" movies, when they're done with a unique twist or—at the very least—with some wit and style. Creature doesn't have any style, save for dime store plagiarism (for true originality, see the far better Tucker and Dale vs. Evil). I've seen test patterns with more interesting stories than this. Without any interesting characters (every actor involved should strike this movie from their resume), effects work, or filmmaking skills, Creature is nothing more than a neutered cinematic beast.

Presented in standard definition 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Arc Entertainment offers up a decent-looking transfer. Since the bulk of the movie takes place at night, the visuals are bathed in shadows and blacks, clear of any major defects save for some slight edge enhancement. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix is good and features some startling sound effects from both the front and rear speakers. It's nothing exciting, but certainly gets the job done. Extras include three short featurettes ("On the Bayou," "The Filmmakers," and "Making the Monster").

The Verdict

Guilty. Creature is about as bland as its title.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 48

Perp Profile

Studio: Arc Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes


• IMDb
• Official Site

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