“Creature”: B-Movie Swamp Monster Blunder

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I thought for a while about the choice for my first Netflix review. There seemed to be an infinite amount of choices, I was like a kid at a candy store. Except, all the candy was either rotten or tasted like black licorice. Perhaps In the Spider’s Web (2007), or Poultrygeist – Night of the Chicken Dead (2006), or even Gingerdead Man 3 – Saturday Night Cleaver (2011). I decided that I’d save those for a rainy day, and take a safer route with an aptly-named creature-feature called Creature (2011), a ‘thrilling’ and ‘dramatic’ tale of a group of friends that are eviscerated and devoured by a half-man, half-alligator monster.

Sounds great so far.

The movie starts off with its typical B-horror teaser. A young woman takes a (bizarre and poorly-timed) naked dip in a Louisiana swamp and has her legs torn off in the blink of an eye.

We flash-cut to a group of friends – two couples (Niles and Emily, Beth and Randy) and two siblings (Oscar and Karen) – on their way to New Orleans to party it up. They stop at a broken down gas station for a bathroom break and are intrigued by the myths that surrounds the area; especially of one about Grimley a.k.a Lockjaw: a terrifying beast that has terrorized the town for the past 30 years.

The story of Grimley is a sad one. A man’s true love (and sister) was taken on his wedding night by an albino alligator. Woe and sorrow drove the man into madness, and he soon mutated into a monstrous beast, always looking for fresh meat and a new bride to thaw his heart.

At this point, I’m thinking to myself, “Sure, sympathetic villain, I can get behind that. This movie isn’t half bad.” For a little while, the group heads into the forest and follows the ‘cabin in the woods’ formula a little too closely, but I was still on board. However, when the movie reaches the midpoint, and Oscar and Karen reveal themselves to be the descendants of Lockjaw, that’s when it lost me. It seems as though the movie throws everything it had going for it out the window and just nosedives into sheer insanity. Sheer, incestuous insanity.

Oscar and his father, the hillbilly gang leader, Chopper, reveal their nefarious plans to lure the other couples into the woods as a sacrifice to their almighty ‘god’, Lockjaw. In order to appease him, they were to capture a woman for Lockjaw to impregnate… as this was their ‘way’ and how all of them were born. While the specifics of their actual lineage and how exactly Lockjaw fathers these children is murky and confusing at best, it doesn’t make any of this any less disturbing.

The movie culminates in a rousing ritual performed by a bunch of wife-beater-wearing hillbillies, Emily (played by Vancouverite Serinda Swan) is captured and is to be ‘sacrificed’ to Grimley/Lockjaw. Her boyfriend Niles saves the day, but not before earning himself a savage beating worthy of James T. Kirk himself from Lockjaw (why the alligator-man didn’t just bite him is quite beyond me).

Lesson learned: never go take a pee break by yourself. And also, some hillbillies bang their siblings and worship alligator gods.
While I was entirely expecting this to be an hour and a half long train wreck, it actually surprised me. Well, for the first half, anyway. The dialogue – while not overly snappy or well-written – seemed true to the characters.The film, as a whole, actually looked like somebody put money into this project. It’s a rarity to find high budgets in most b-horrors out there. I just couldn’t get over the incest, a monster that looked like a Gorn, and a sloppily put-together plot that makes even less sense now than when I was watching it.

For those who aren’t looking for the next Oscar contender, let me break it down for you… it’s got the three B-horror Bs: boobs, blood, and beasts. And isn’t that all you really need?