Creature (2011)

Sid Haig has gotten a lot of mileage out of his career resurgence, but 2003 has been 13 years ago, with Zombie gifting him the wildly popular Captain Spaulding character. Since then he's been in a lot of shit. Creature (2011) is such a rotten example of popping up in a film for about fifteen minutes, featured in a glorified cameo that is sporadically used to flash a devious smile and offer his wicked charms. It is pretty much what he is cast for in all these movies nowadays. He is charismatic, just like Bill Moseley, and I have to give to Haig, his presence elevates even the worst of the worst from being a total waste. Any film that can't get value out of creepy Pruitt Taylor Vince is just doing something wrong. Daniel Bernhardt gets the honors of the "lockjaw" monster suit with a mouth that is split open quite wide, doing his roar and pounding-chest routine. Wayne Pére and David Jensen are Haig's brood of convenient store backwoods creeps, sending off bad vibes to any tourists or out-of-towners that might arrive for supplies (and to sneer at the sideshow attractions set out to gawk at). The plot is basic monster movie formula: Haig and his pals offer victims to Lockjaw so that they can maintain their good will with it. They serve it religiously in some vague way. The group of adult youth on vacation camping run afoul of them. This group includes the delicious (and ridiculously underused) Lauren Schneider, Dillon Casey (Schneider's brother in the film), Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl, the series), Serinda Swan (as Brooks' girlfriend), Aaron Hill (Swan's brother in the film), and Amanda Fuller (both Schneider and Casey desire her).

There appears to be no budget for decent horror effects (the severed head is a prop right out of novelty gift shop) as many of the violent bits are off screen. Slow motion is used horribly (seriously undercutting any action that exists). The film does have some attractive folks, and there's some surprising amounts of nudity (full frontal Jennifer Lynn Warren opens the film with a titillating skinny dip that ends in her losing her legs, crawling out of the swamp on the shore; Fuller spends enough time exposing her tits, while Schneider gives us a flash as well, smiling while she does so). I do give this film credit for actually allowing an African American character to be the hero for a change so that is in its favor: of course, it also has him often getting the hell beaten out of him by Lockjaw. Why would you have the soundtrack posit these crunching sounding blows with every time Lockjaw hits Brooks, including blood spitting out of his mouth, only for him to vanquish it (off screen after following it into this sink hole to save his girl) afterward? Just have it toss him around where it could appear that he would survive enough to counterattack later. But the way this film shows the creature throttle Brooks, no one would survive that many blows to the torso and make it back up. There is this weak ass backwoods ceremony led by Haig that is half-hearted and deals no suspense whatsoever. There's plenty of running around in the woods, the prey introduced on a break from life enjoying potential adventure before Haig and his beast spoil the festivities, and excessive growling. The reveal of Haig's offspring involves sister masturbating brother while he peeps on Brooks and Swan, with sister expecting brother to return the favor! Haig punches out his daughter, ties her up in a cabin, cuts off her foot (!), and leaves her to be killed (I'm not sure but I think there's a hint of possible molestation) by the creature because that's what "God wants". Yeah, there's nonsense about "God has chosen you" which mines backwoods spiritual sacrificial madness the horror genre has produced plenty of in times past. You've seen so much better that what this offers. Follows after Hatchet (2006) which it resembles somewhat, particularly in the choice of location and rampaging beast (with the over the top gore of Hatchet easily besting anything Creature has to offer).

Schneider's really into her part as this vixen who clearly is sexually adventurous. Her scene in a tent with Fuller is mildly hot, but before it can go anywhere, Hill interrupts, hacking apart a snake about to enter in. Brooks and Swan have good chemistry which has their lives threatened by Haig's desire to offer her to his monster while her man tries to rescue her out of harm's way. The sink hole ruins any satisfying results of seeing Brooks conquer the beast and take its jaw as his screen does nothing but diffuse what those making the film were going for, being Brooks taking a licking, keeping on ticking, and retaliating in heroic fashion for us to see. Schneider is just too sexy and fun to be so easily dismissed...her fate is also underwhelmingly non-epic. Much like the film is underwhelmingly lame.