Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem (2013)

EDIT: apparently, I was wrong in saying that the people behind this movie were first-time filmmakers. The guy who sent me this film to watch tells me that one of the writers, Johnny Dickie, apparently made another film before this, a horror anthology called Slaughter Tales. However, he is a teenager, so you could replace my comment about "first-time filmmakers" with "young filmmakers". Would I call Jack Mulvanerty or Johnny Dickie the next Emily Hagins? Probably not, but their little romp certainly was inspired. And regardless of quality, getting a feature-length film made at that age is certainly no easy task. So props to you, and continue improving.

Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem (2013)

(Thanks to Derek at Death Awaits for recommending me this movie to check out, and for sending me a link.)

Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem is... well, between the title and the above poster, you know precisely what you're getting into from the first second. It's a no-budget (apparently, just $400) gorefest with abysmal performances, teenagers who act nothing like real teenagers, raw stupidity from the victims, off-the-shelf gore effects, terrible production values... and that's just the first fifteen minutes. However, what it does have going for it is the energetic gusto and excitement of first-time filmmakers and lifelong horror fans who know exactly what sort of movie they're making. One of the killers wears a hot pink ski mask, the kills are absurd and over-the-top, there's an undercurrent of deranged sexual innuendo, and through it all, I couldn't stop laughing, something that I'm strongly guessing was the creators' intention. By no measure can I call Creeps a good movie, or even a decent one. What it is, though, is awesomely bad, hilarious to watch as both a B-movie and for some legitimately funny gags.

Things like plot and character, already thin and full of holes to start with, fall apart entirely about halfway in, with the film spiraling into a mess of flashbacks and creating incredibly muddled motivations for the killers. From what I was able to gather, society rejected them after they were kidnapped, tortured, and mutilated, leading them to become sociopathic cult leaders who want to kill the privileged and start a revolution -- motivations that make even less sense than they sound due to the film's ineptitude at conveying such in a coherent manner. Furthermore, the film can't decide who the main characters are, focusing on, alternatively, the killers and the two friends searching for them to get a reward. I couldn't follow anything that was happening after the half-hour mark, and eventually, I couldn't be bothered to follow it. Everything about this movie, from the acting to the gore to the cinematography to the sound design, is (and I sincerely apologize for using this term) lulz-worthy, resembling an amateur YouTube sketch extended to over an hour in terms of production values. Even the horror parodies that College Humor and Funny or Die put out look more professional than this film. I can't even say this felt like a student film so much as a giant goof made by a few buddies with a camera and a few hundred bucks, showing off some of their skills at micro-budget gore effects and wrapping a threadbare slasher plot around them.

And to the film's credit, it not only never pretends to be anything other than that, but it fully embraces its own Z-grade aesthetic and has a great sense of humor about itself and its inadequacies. Even when the characters aren't dropping bad one-liners and making corny jokes, it has an energy to it that many slick Hollywood horror films with budgets thousands of times higher lack. It's constantly moving, even when the editing can't keep up, and it held my attention like a rock even when it was at its most inept. This is a film that you need to watch with a certain Mystery Science Theater mindset, accepting that nothing in this movie can be considered objectively good under any circumstances. The fact that it's just 65 minutes long (not counting credits) means that it never overstays its welcome and stops being fun to watch, and to be honest, I don't know if this film's charm would've held up for much more than an hour.

Score: 1 out of 5 (in terms of quality), 4 out of 5 (for so-bad-it's-good, Troma-esque comedy)

Like I said, this cannot be considered a good movie by any objective measure. What it is, however, is something that's great to watch for a laugh, for reasons that the film's creators had to have intended. I certainly won't watch this movie again, and I don't think I'll be checking out any future films by its creators unless they step their game up, but it is damned entertaining.

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