Lake Dead / The Deaths of Ian Stone / Unearthed
Crazy Eights / Tooth & Nail / Nightmare Man / Borderland
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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
Miss Horrorfest 2007 Contest webisodes
Turns out Manifest Destiny didn’t kill as many Indians as we thought it did. Something else beat us to it.
Emanuelle Vaugier, Luke Goss, Charlie Murphy, Beau Garrett, Tommy Dewey, M.C. Gainey.
Turns out ole Painkiller Jane preferred her painkiller by the bottle…
A creature that’s been dormant for 900 years in the American Southwest gets unearthed during an archaeological dig. This same creature, which was responsible for wiping out the ancient Anasazi Indians, picks up where it left off and it’s up to a local alcoholic Sheriff and the town residents to survive long enough to find a way to kill it.
After seeing Unearthed, there’s one thing that mostly sticks with me about it: this film doesn’t belong in a horror film festival, it belongs in the pantheon of those shitty to semi-tolerable Sci-Fi Channel movies. You know: the ones with the unique premise of some unstoppable (bad CGI) creature killing a shitload people? Yeah, one of those. I watched it on a lazy Saturday afternoon and realized that this would be exactly what I’d be watching – if I were watching Sci-Fi on a lazy Saturday afternoon. This isn’t a terrible movie, it’s just not a very good one, nor an original one. It’s a boilerplate creature feature, it’s loaded with cliches, cookie cutter characters, and aspires to be something way more than it has any reasonable expectation of being.
“Okay, I know I’m the Black comic relief set to get killed in a semi-humorous way. All I ask is that it be done in a classy way…”
Fist of all, leave us start with Emanuelle Vaugier. I like her. She’s gorgeous, she has a presence about her and oftentimes comes off better than the material she’s working in. Yet she’s continually falling into material that’s a paycheck and not much else, this just being the latest. She’s portraying the alcoholic Sheriff Annie Flynn, on a huge guilt trip about the death of a little Indian girl a year prior for which she’s responsible. The inclusion of this character detail, rather than serving as any usable depth criteria to her character, merely providing a reason for her to be swigging booze throughout the movie and adding a bit of edginess to her. Ultimately, however, it serves no discernible purpose, hardly figures into the story at all and seems as if it was added as an afterthought.
Likewise, Luke Goss portrays Kale, an archaeologist who is instrumental in discovering the truth about the creature and how to combat it. And similarly to Flynn’s backstory, I’m still trying to figure out what purpose he served other than exposition and providing another tasty snack for the creature. First he’s a loner who’s investigating the creature’s origins, then he’s a heavy who holds a group of the main characters hostage, shoots one of them and causes another to be bitten by a rattlesnake. Then he morphs back into the hero type working with the very people he had squared off against to stop the creature.
I mentioned a few cliches in the film, one of which being Charlie Murphy as the wisecracking, cursing, citified Black man caught up in the action. I also like Murphy, but he’s another name actor who’s a victim of this movie – in more ways than one. M.C. Gainey also makes an appearance and he’s fine as usual, though he doesn’t really get to cut loose as we all love him to do. The rest of the cast don’t fare much better, though, there’s little to nothing special about them and they all serve the function to which they were created, to provide amusing endings at the hand of the creature. Finally, there’s the creature itself: the bastard love child between a xenomorph and that green crab / preying mantis thing that was so hot for Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones. It has not much personality itself, merely slashing its way through the film roster like innumerable creatures before it. It might have been a little more interesting if you could clearly see some of the carnage, but director Matthew Leutwyler is a graduate of the blipvert school of editing and you’re lucky if you can tell what the creature is doing when it attacks on several occasions. At least he had the good sense to keep it in the shadows for most of the movie.
The producers of the franchise were really hitting bottom with the next entry in the series, Alien vs. Tractor Tire…
Unearthed is hardly original, not very interesting, nor scary in the least. Wait for it to come to Sci-Fi Channel and watch it on a lazy Saturday.
The film takes place mostly at night, and is way dark a lot of times. As far as special features, like all of the After Dark Horrorfest films, this one has the Miss Horrorfest 2007 Contest webisodes. And nothing else.