"Blood Creek" DVD Review

6/09/2010 Posted by Admin

"Blood Creek"

DVD Review

Directed by Joel Schumacher, Written by Dave Kajganich, 91 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

In pre-WWII era West Virginia, a German family takes an offer to house a historian named Richard Wirth (Michael Fassbender) under the request of the SS. Wirth tells the family he seeks ancient Nordic runes, one of which is buried by their home. He tells them he intends on studying it.

Years later, present day, a paramedic named Evan Marshall is confronted by his brother Victor, who has been missing for two years. Victor tells Evan he's been held captive at a farm, and he asks Evan to return with him to seek revenge on the family there. Things aren't quite what they seem--upon their arrival, the family panics, telling them to go, but the family is familiar.

It's the same family that housed Wirth all those years ago. They haven't aged, and their farmhouse is covered in symbols drawn in blood. Wirth was no historian. He was one of many agents sent from Nazi Germany to find and study ancient occult artifacts in order to bring about the immortality of the master race, and when the family learned of this, they locked him away in their cellar, giving him stray people to feed on so that he wouldn't kill them and unleash his havoc on the rest of the world. Through the years studying the runes, Wirth has become powerful, and after escaping the cellar, the Marshall brothers have no choice but to prevent the monster from escaping the farm and fulfilling his plan for immortality.

Joel Schumacher is a real hit-or-miss kind of director. The majority of people know him for his relentlessly campy Batman films, but he's managed to put out some relatively great work as well, with films such as "Falling Down" and "Phone Booth." "Blood Creek" is not one of those films. In fact, I'd go so far as to say his laughable Batman movies have nothing on this.

The shame is that it starts out pretty well. The flashback introducing Fassbender's character, shot in an unsettling and pretty gorgeous black and white, is really stellar filmmaking. Intense, intriguing, beautifully shot--excellent set-up for the story. If only it were a different story.

The whole Nazi obsession with occult that served as a major element in goofy old grindhouse shlock could conceivably make for a very frightening and fascinating film. Really, that's the case for occult in general. People fear what they don't understand, and the occult is very mysterious. But time after time, filmmakers choose to use it as a device for cheesy, over-the-top horror instead of something more terrifying at the gut level, something unnatural and inconceivable that the audience can fear because it could happen to anyone. And it works well mixed with Nazis, evidently. I suppose they just make good bad guys.

"Blood Creek" had a chance at using the Nazi occult for something truly original and horrific. That looks to be the case for about 20 minutes--then, the zombie horses show up. Somebody should really look into making "unleash the zombie horses" the new "jump the shark."

The film falls apart in its second act, where the two main characters hold up in the farmhouse with the German family and face off against Wirth and his army of various zombified animals and corpses. There's a stretch for about 10 minutes where CGI horses run around the house, taking dozens of bullets and catching on fire. To call it embarassing might be an understatement.

Schumacher seems to be a very talented director. The opening sequence alone is proof of this. He has a wonderful visual sensibility and he definitely has a way with building tension. Apparently, it's where he goes with that tension that really makes or breaks his work. And boy, is this film broken.

Fassbender's great, as usual, and his performance alone keeps the film from being unbearable. He and Schumacher's direction aside, "Blood Creek" couldn't be more of a miss.

Grade: D

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  1. Hrushi said...

    I haven't seen it. But your review would surely give me an eye to watch it the right way! :)

  2. Tom Graczkowski said...

    I haven't seen it either and probably will agree with the reviewer if or when I do. But, having said that it could still be a lot of fun if you don't expect too much from it.