Friday, October 29, 2021

Ten Days of Terror!: Blood Creek/Town Creek

Films: Blood Creek (Town Creek; Creek)
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on rockin’ flatscreen

One of the reasons that horror movies are a lot of fun is that a lot of people who end up being famous get their start in horror movies. Dig back far enough into some stars’ filmographies and you’ll find some B-level ridiculousness. When I came across Blood Creek, there was no way I couldn’t watch it. First, it’s directed by Joel Schumacher. Second, at the time, the clear star of the movie was Dominic Purcell, but today, the fact that Purcell’s brother is played by Henry Cavill and the big bad is played by Michael Fassbender is the selling point.

We start in 1940 with a professor named Wirth (Fassbender), sent from Germany to the farm of an emigrant German family who discovered an ancient Viking rune on their property. Surprise, surprise, Wirth is a Nazi who wants to study the magical properties of the rune, which include the ability to temporarily raise the dead. The family discovers Wirth’s goals and essentially traps him with a ritual that requires a steady stream of human sacrifices and blood. This keeps Wirth alive but weakened, and meanwhile, the family essentially stops aging.

Now, in the future, we meet up with a paramedic named Evan Marshall (Henry Cavill). A couple of years previously, Evan’s brother Victor vanished on a camping trip and Evan has carried the guilt of his brother’s disappearance since. Imagine his shock when Victor (Dominic Purcell) suddenly shows up and demands that Evan follow him—he demands this even before he goes to see his family.

If you guessed that Victor was the latest person trapped at the Wollner family farm, you would be right. Victor has managed to escape his captivity and the slow, torturous death that awaited him. Now he wants revenge. He wants that revenge on the Woller family for imprisoning him and on Wirth for whatever degradations he was subjected to. Much of the rest of the film will consist first of Victor and Evan storming the farmhouse and then discovering the truth of Wirth and of the farm in general and then dealing with the empowered Wirth who has gotten out thanks to their meddling.

The idea behind Blood Creek is a lot of fun. Long-lived Nazis with the power to bring things back from the dead held back only by the noble sacrifice of a terrified family? Blood sacrifices made to keep evil at bay? Retribution that goes horribly wrong? This is all the kind of thing that makes the horror genre thrive.

The problem is that it’s not very good. I mean, it’s not good at all. Blood Creek is one of those movies that has a particular set of scenes it wants to get to and actions it wants the characters to take, and instead of giving us character-driven reasons to get there, we have the characters acting in plot-driven ways to get us to walk down the path the plot wants us to walk down. It’s so frustrating. Time and time again, everyone in the film acts in these ridiculously stupid ways so that we can follow along where the plot wants us to go.

You want examples? I’m sure that you want some examples. For starters, why the hell does the Wollner family “trap” Wirth with unwilling blood sacrifices? Why not just kill him? He’s not indestructible and they could take him out pretty easily. When Wirth is getting the upper hand on Victor Marshall, a plan is hatched to poison him, which is done by presenting Evan as a sacrifice for him. Why would he fall for that? Why would he give up on killing Victor to kill someone who is trapped for him? And with the Wollners at this point in open rebellion against him, why would he trust that they were continuing to feed him? Well, because the film needs to have Wirth poisoned to get to the next part of the plot, and this was what was come up with as the way to get him there.

Blood Creek needed to go back for rewrites. A lot of rewrites. This was a story that needed to be taken back to code and reimagined from the ground up. There are some good ideas here and someone could make this into a story that is worth watching, but it wasn’t Joel Schumacher and it wasn’t David Kajganich the screenwriter.

I really wanted this to be good and it really wasn’t.

Why to watch Blood Creek: Fassbender and Cavill? Get out of town!
Why not to watch: So much happens for plot reasons rather than character reasons.

2 comments:

  1. Maybe an underrated gem from Joel Schumacher who was a good filmmaker. I don't put total blame on him for why Batman & Robin sucks. Much of that blame should go to Akiva Goldsman for writing a shitty script and making Batman say stupid shit like... "HI FREEZE! I'M BATMAN!!"

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    1. I don't think this was entirely Schumacher's fault, but some of it has to go to him. If you're directing this nonsense, you have to be able to see that there are serious problems with the way the script lays out, don't you?

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