I have 490 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to maybe watch one thing for every five things I add, but now my library is full and I have to make room. Serious watching must begin. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking about you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but don’t have time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know if there’s something that’s been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for your queue and the next Monday for mine and so forth. Shall we?

What’s the movie? Blood Creek (2009)

What’s it rated? Rated R for Michael Fassbender scenery chewing, some wicked scarification and evil horses.

Did people make it? Written by David Kajganich. Directed by Joel Schumacher.  Acted by Henry “Superman 4.0″ Cavill, Dominic “Lincoln Burrows” Purcell, Emma “Blonde Perfection” Booth, Michael “Then We Will Fight in the Shade” Fassbender and Shea “Tigerland” Whigham.

What’s it like in one sentence? Demon Knight as a revenge movie without a sense of humor.

Why did you watch it? Because I really like Michael Fassbender and was curious about Henry Cavill, since I’ve only seen him in The Tudors. Also, Chewer andrewhawkins made me.

What’s it about in one paragraph? Henry Cavill plays Evan Marshall, an exhausted paramedic who’s living a pretty depressing life taking care of his bitter and wheelchair bound father when he’s not working 15 hour days intubating meth heads and dodging exploding meth shacks. His father still hasn’t forgiven him because two years earlier, Evan’s older brother Victor (Dominic Purcell), who had just returned home from war in Iraq, went missing in the woods during a fishing trip with Evan. One night he comes home to his trailer and passes out, only to be woken up by Victor (in full blown Jeremiah Johnson mode), who hastily tells Evan to grab some guns and his boat so they can go do some dark and dirty business. Victor then tells Evan the story of his missing two years and how some people in a remote farmhouse held him captive and slowly bled him and tortured him in order to feed his blood to some kind of supernatural creature. Once they arrive at the farm, they have to deal with the shotgun toting farmers, undead horses and a Nazi scholar possessed by an ancient runestone. In other words, it’s just your average zombie horses controlled by horse whispering, demon Nazi Michael Fassbender movie.

It's a Joel Schumacher movie, alright.

Play or remove from my queue? I’d say play it, but there’s no hurry. It’s not going anywhere. It’s fast paced and fun and there’s much worse ways to spend 90 minutes but there’s also a boatload of flaws and a climax that’s biggest accomplishment is setting up Blood Creek 2- Even Creekier. I guess the best way to really describe the film is passable on almost every level. It’s not scary or very original, but it’s slickly shot and produced, has a couple fun performances and doesn’t shit the bed too horribly in the end.

It’s nice to see Henry Cavill in this, even though I have a feeling he isn’t going to suffer the same post-Superman slumps that some of the previous actors did. Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh have both done interesting things after getting out of the cape, but never enjoyed the same mega-stardom that came attached to the Superman franchise, whereas I think Henry Cavill has more of an everyman vibe that will continue getting him work even if Zack Snyder’s take on Kal-El is a flop. His character in this is underwritten to the point of extreme one-dimensionality, but the one dimension is “heroic” and he plays it with aplomb. Or multiple plombs. How the fuck should I know?

Dominic Purcell as “Victor, the War Hero” has even less to work with. Since I’m a masochist, I stuck with Prison Break all the way to the end (mostly so I could see the fate of William Fichtner’s character and to see whether T-Bag finally got killed into a million pieces) and was always the least interested in Purcell’s character, who mostly just wore muscle shirts and scowled. Blood Creek gives him more to do than Prison Break did, but leaves so many plot holes in his story that I never really got to know him as anything other than a plot motivator. For instance, he apparently was held captive at the farmhouse and tortured for two years, yet when he shows back up to the farmhouse with his brother, we never get a sense of familiarity with the family members that held him hostage. I never felt like he had any connection to the people there and there was no sense of history shared between him and the farmers and the hot, blonde 90 year old that looked 17 (the family is stuck at the age they were when Fassbender showed up). I think this movie really could have benefited from some flashbacks so we could actually see Victor being held by these people and get a sense of how horrible the two years were for him. As it stands, it’s hard to empathize with him going back to the Blood Ranch Creek for revenge instead of staying safe with his family and spending time with his children he hasn’t seen in 2 years.

Fassbender is a lot of fun to watch in the opening sequence set in 1936 that shows the arrival of his character to the farm, searching for information on an ancient runestone that might help the Third Reich achieve victory over the Allies. As soon as he finds the runestone and brings a dead bird back to life, the film jumps to modern day and the Fassbender (listed in the credits as Richard Wirth, but I don’t remember them ever saying his name) is now all demony with yellowy\grey skin and a shit ton of scars and a giant swastika on the back of his neck. Again, this is another case of the effect being visible and understood, while the cause is shrouded in muddled exposition that doesn’t shed any light on what made him grody or how they trapped Nazi Fassbender in the basement with sigils drawn in blood. Also, if he can’t leave the basement then why do they let him out every once and a while to drink the blood of the strangers that the farmers capture? I know they need blood to paint the symbols, but why keep giving him blood strength? Didn’t their mother’s teach them never to feed a Nazi after midnight?
Joel Schumacher does an excellent job keeping the film moving and always interesting, but he’s let down by a script where every idea is only half formed and not followed through to it’s logical conclusion. If one more draft was written this might have been a very minor horror classic. Most people will write it off because Joel Schumacher directed it, but I’m not as hard on him as most. Batman & Robin is by far one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but the man also directed The Lost Boys, Tigerland, Falling Down and Flatliners, so I’ll allow him this last decade of crap and keep the faith that he has one more classic buried somewhere beneath his luscious silver mane. The direction for this felt inspired for the most part and I hope it’s a step towards making another powerful piece of film, even though this one isn’t it.
There’s definitely better movies on your queue (I assume since you’re reading this) but I bet there’s worse one’s, too.
The film could’ve really used a bit of a wink in it’s eye to sell some of the ideas and the twists, but the script takes itself so damned seriously that at some points you feel like they’re trying to make the Das Boot of Occult Nazi Farmhouse movies. They also end the movie before the entire story is told, blatantly setting up a sequel that might actually be a bit better than the original. Make a whole movie before you think of a franchise, dicks.
Enjoy Blood Creek for what it is and nothing more= a 90 minute diversion while you write your own occultist Nazi zombie epic. We can (and will) do better.

 

As a heterosexual male, I know I'm not allowed to call him dreamy, but still...

Do you have an interesting fun-fact? The whole film is shot in Romania, which makes me wonder when Joel Schumacher started doing Eastern European, direct-to-DVD horror flicks.

What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Why? Creep (haven’t seen but it’s about Franka Potente stuck in an evil sewer, so I’m in), Lifeforce (I saw this when I was a kid and loved it but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have zombie horses in it), Ghost Story (excellent book, glacially paced film), Severed: Forest of the Dead (haven’t seen it but there’s trees in both movies, so I guess that’s one connection) and The Tomb (looks like shit and Wes Bentley’s visage on the cover makes it even more shit probable.

What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? Why? Dead Birds (great evil farmhouse movie), Deliverance (great revenge movie), The Cottage (very similar in theme and it has Andy Serkis!), Demon Knight (the movie I thought of the most while watching Blood Creek), and The Mighty Ducks (because I said so).

What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 2.8

What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 2.9

Can you link to the movie? I sure can!

Any last thoughts? It’s a fun, lightweight way to spend an evening. If you’re in the mood for horror without having to think or be truly disturbed by what you’re watching then you could do worse than this. It will also give you the chance to see Henry Cavill do something in a modern setting so you can gauge how his Clark Kent will be.

Did you watch anything else this week? I watched Tron: Legacy on Blu-Ray and the visuals and sound melted my face while leaving my brain outside, shivering in the cold. I also watched The Green Hornet which was fun and enjoyable but it needed a more threatening villain and less of Seth Rogan playing ultra douche. He really needed to be a little more likable so you could actually enjoy rooting for him and Kato instead of just Kato. Lastly, I watched the final four episodes of this season of Parks and Recreation which were just fantastic. I wish Ron Swanson could cross over into other shows and star in them for a week, Imagine him as a judge on Idol or solving a crime with David Caruso on CSI. The possibilities are endless.

Next Week? Your pick, Chewers. Something light and fun or are we going heavy and impressionistic again? All of the Comedy Central stuff in my queue expired, so I guess I won’t get to review Dog Bites Man or The State now. Oh well.

 

Weirdest. Barbecue. Ever.