Wednesday, June 12, 2013

30 Days of Nightmares #12: BLOOD CREEK (2009)

The Story: Two brothers hunt an undead bloodsucking Nazi on the verge of completing a ritual that will make him all-powerful.

Expectations: I was intrigued by the fact that this is director Joel Schumacher's first horror film since FLATLINERS.  Plenty of people would scoff at the mention of the name.  Schumacher makes an easy target since he did, after all, give us BATMAN & ROBIN and 8MM, both of which were embarrassing beyond words.  To be fair, however, he also made THE LOST BOYS (which is not as good as NEAR DARK, but it'll do in a pinch) and PHONE BOOTH.  And I confess I have a soft spot for FLATLINERS.  It's a little too touchy-feely, but I still love it.  So, I find myself wondering, what would this guy do with a story about a Nazi zombie/vampire?

Reaction: Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this film is the fact that so few people have seen of it... because it's actually a respectable creature feature.  Michael Fassbender turns in a solid performance as the Nazi monster, who uses human blood and ancient runes to bring the dead back to life.  For nearly a century, a West Virginia family has kept him contained by using his own magic against him... but that changes when Victor Marshall, a hateful Iraq War veteran, shows up to destroy the monster once and for all.  Little does he know that his hatred can only fuel the fire.

It's a good premise, although Victor's story is a bit annoying.  He enlists the help of his loyal brother Evan in a supernatural battle... but stupidly doesn't tell Evan (or us) what he's up against.  Why?  I guess this lack of information is meant to build suspense... but it also makes Victor pretty unlikable, since his tight-lipped manner causes a lot of tactical problems that could have been easily avoided.  If you can get past that initial bit of silliness, you're in for a wild ride.  When the villain shows up, the film becomes a top-notch freak fest.

The villain is slick and genuinely unnerving.  He's sort of like Pinhead (HELLRAISER) crossed with The Creeper (JEEPERS CREEPERS).  That might sound a lame, but it works.  In fact, the monster is so cool that I'm willing to forgive this movie a really bad CGI evil dead horse.  For the most part, the effects are solid and the filmmaker weaves an interesting mythology around the central ideas about the corrupting effects of hatred and power.  The ending does a particularly good job of driving home those ideas, while setting the stage for a sequel that will almost certainly never happen... but which I would actually like to see.  Frankly, I can't remember the last time a horror movie made me actually want a sequel.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: As with many of the great modern-day horror franchises, the "unmasking" of the villain turns out to be a moment of surprising power.


  1. Yeah, I'd be curious about this. Probably, I'll give Schumacher a go because I too enjoyed FLATLINERS, even PHONE BOOTH (but I like Colin Farrell). And believe it or not (but mostly for Nic Cage) I didn't abhor 8MM. Remember, I actually projected, first-run, SNUFF (1976). I may give this a try, Joe. Thanks for this.

    p.s., you still can't pay me enough to re-watch BATMAN AND ROBIN, though ;-).

  2. Michael - I'll be curious to hear what you think. My problem with 8MM is that it had so much potential to be genuinely unsettling... but Cage's persistent wincing/moralizing pulled me right out of the movie. At this point I'd rather re-watch HARDCORE with George C. Scott. I can't comment on SNUFF, because I haven't seen that one...

    1. Yes, 8MM has a lot of problems. Like you, I screened it years ago for its unsettling idea. It's not that I like it, just don't hate it. I guess my tic-laden Nic Cage quotient is a little higher than most ;-). Good call on HARDCORE, and you definitely are not missing anything with regards to SNUFF. Thanks, Joe.