Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blood Creek (2009)

Title: Blood Creek (2009)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Cast: Dominic Purcell, Michael Fassbender, Henry Cavill

Writer: David Kajganich


What the hell happened to Joel Schumacher? The guy has directed some fine movies in his life time. The Lost Boys, St. Elmos Fire, Flatliners, A Time To Kill are examples of his good ones. Of course, like any other director, he’s had his couple of duds. Batman Forever and Batman and Robin come to mind. Damn, the guy is known as the director who killed the Batman franchise! But hey, all directors are entitled to one or two misses in their careers. Schumacher does has some decent flicks under his belt, which is the main reason why when I saw Blood Creek go straight to dvd I was a bit surprised. Joel Schumacher straight to dvd? Oh how the mighty have fallen! Then I noticed Blood Creek is  a Nazi zombie movie, so for that alone, I was attracted to rent the film. I thought “at least this straight to dvd horror flick has got an experienced director behind it. Plus it’s a Nazi zombie movie” So I rented it, expecting Id get at the very least a decent straight to video horror film. Boy was I wrong!

The spooky farmhouse where most of the film takes place

Story is all about Hitler and his supposed interest in the occult. According to this film, Hitler was after some ancient runes that could supposedly bring the dead back to life. A family’s farm in West Virginia rests on top of one of these life giving runes, so Hitler sends one of his henchmen to the United States to investigate the rune and retrieve it. The family quickly accepts the nazi's offer because of the monetary compensation they get. Fastforward to modern times, and this evil nazi is now trapped in the basement of the home, and is looking for a way out. He has been kept alive for years and years by feeding on helpless victims. Apparently he has been gathering his strengths, waiting for his chance to live again. But one of his victims manages to escape! And this victim is looking to get some decent payback! Will he be able to destroy the Nazi zombie and his servants?

My special bone armor will protect me from evil!

The same thing that has happened with practically every Nazi zombie movie I have ever watched happened again. The thing about Nazi zombie movies is that they have a cool premise to play with, yet they always screw it up! These movies never take full advantage of the supernatural elements in their premises. Nazis, the occult, the supernatural…that’s a winning combination right there. So how come filmmakers are never able to make a decent Nazi zombie movie? Well, let me take that back. I did enjoy Dead Snow (2009). That one was pretty decent. Lots of gore, cool looking zombies. But Dead Snow is an exception to the rule, because as far as I know, every Nazi zombie movie I have seen blows. Blood Creek (or Town Creek as it is also known) was terrible. Why was it so bad?

For starters, the story doesn’t make much sense at times. This absence in logic could be due to a couple of things, but I believe one of them is the way the film was edited. I don’t know if Schumacher had anything to do with the editing process, because sometimes films are just taken away from directors by the producers and re-edited, but the way that this film is edited doesn’t really help you follow the story very well. Not that it’s a complicated story; it’s actually maybe too simplistic. For crying out loud, the whole film takes place in a farm! But if a movie can’t even tell a story that is “simple” in an understandable fashion, then you know something is definitely wrong. The script is filled with many plot holes and inconsistencies. You’ll be asking lots of questions and getting no answers with Blood Creek. I read there were some differences between writer and director. Schumacher decided to re-write some scenes himself. Would the movie had been any better if Schumacher had not tampered with it? I guess we'll never know. All I know is that the end result was a mess.

Which is actually kind of sad really, because they had the elements for a decent horror movie. The main villain, the Nazi guy, is a pretty cool looking villain. The make up work on the villain is actually really good. He looks like a zombie, feeds like a vampire; his skin regenerates itself with each feeding. And that’s another thing, it’s never really explained if he is a vampire or a zombie. But he feeds on blood to continue living, so I guess he is more of a vampire. Then again, he brings things back from the dead, so right there, there is a connection with the living dead as well. The movie has one moment that I thought was pretty original where the Nazi zombie guy brings a dead horse back to life and turns him into a zombie horse. People shoot the horse with shotguns and he keeps on attacking, then the Nazi dude rides his zombie horse around! Pretty cool visual, if only the rest of the film had as much of originality and energy as these scenes.

Unfortunately, the film decides to hide its faults behind the annoyingly frenetic shaky cam. The film aspires to have a fast pace, which is probably why everybody talks really fast and is always running and doing things  in a hurry. Unfortunately, we can never see what is happening because of the shaky cam and the poor lighting. We need to see what is happening on screen, and if on top of shaky cam you have poor lighting and fast editing, then you will fail to connect with the audience because the audience cannot see what is happening on screen. This is exactly what happens in Blood Creek. It kind of reminded me of Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) which suffered from the same problem. But while the filmmakers behind AVP: Requiem were amateurs, Schumacher is an experienced filmmaker who should have been able to recognize these elements that only serve to bring down the picture.

Unfortunately, Blood Creek was a huge let down. Sometimes, Lionsgate produces a good horror film and then doesnt give it the proper promotional push. Some of their horror movies get a limited release in  theaters and then get dumped on dvd.. They did it with Midnight Meat Train (2008) which was a horror film that deserved a whole lot more exposure then what it got. But Blood Creek isnt one of those good horror films that got mistreated by Lionsgate. This one was just a bad horror film that deserved to be dumped on they way it did by Lionsgate. I was so disappointed to see Joel Schumacher involved in this mess, but I guess it happens to even the best of directors at some point. I’ve still got two Nazi zombie movies that I haven’t seen. One is called The Bunker (2001) and the other one is called Outpost (2008). Let’s hope they are better representations of what a Nazi zombie movie should be like.

Rating: 1 ½ out of 5

 Dead SnowBlood Creek


Jen said...

How the mighty have fallen--I remember when Schumacher was a hot director. He must have rubbed the wrong people the wrong way. Thanks for the review--I think I will skip this one. Watching "Dead Snow" today!

Franco Macabro said...

I dont think you'll be dissapointed with that one. Evil Dead similarities aside, the gore is plentiful, and the nazi zombies look awesome!

But Blood Creek, wow what a stinker!

Anonymous said...

This was a lot of mindless fun for me. Its does flame out in the end. And the zombie horse concept was worth the price of admission alone. Ugh, but the CGI....

Franco Macabro said...

Zombie horse scene reminded me of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE. You know how Fulci always liked to include animals in his horror films, like that zombie fighting a shark scene in ZOMBIE.

Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

I was never a Joel Schumacher fan. Two of his "good" genre films -- The Lost Boys and Flatliners -- suffer from the same flaws as Schumacher's duds: erratic pacing, ill-timed humor and over-the-top emotion. Still, I'm always up for a good zombie movie, but your review of Blood Creek does not inspire confidence. When it comes around to the premium movie channels I'll still give it a shot, but I'll do so with very low expectations.

Franco Macabro said...

I have enjoyed Schumachers films, best of all The Lost Boys, I freaking adore that one, which is why I was so dissapointed with this one. Its kind of hollow and predictable.

On top of that, the story isnt really well explained, and the editing just sucks. The only positive thing I can say about it is the main villain looks cool, and the scene with the zombie horse was amusing, but thats about it.

I Like Horror Movies said...

Man I have heard people loving and hating this one, so I am going to have to see it for sure now! How can you go wrong with Nazi zombies?? Oh wait..

Franco Macabro said...

How can you go wrong with Nazi movies? Well, watch Zombie Lake if you want to know, or Oasis of the Zombies....

Some love this movie for its b-movie value, but I just couldnt bring myself to liking it...I hate it when veteran directors do mediocre work. It feels like they are not giving it their all or something. I feel like I know they could have done better, but didnt. And so why didnt they?


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