What is scarier than a blood-drinking mad man tapping into ancient occult practices for super villain powers that include being able to raise the dead? Why, a NAZI blood-drinking mad man tapping into ancient occult practices for super villain powers that include being able to raise the dead, of course.
I was perusing various horror films last night and ran across this one. It had some good reviews and quite an impressive pedigree with Joel Schumaker at the helm, of “The Lost Boys” and “Falling Down” fame. (Of course, he also directed “Batman and Robin,” but I daresay he probably wants to forget that as much as we do. ) Even with an established director like Schumacher, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, hardcore (and hard-to-please) horror fanatic I am.
The film stars Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) and Henry Cavill (The Tudors) as brothers on a mission of revenge who become trapped in a harrowing occult experiment dating back to the Third Reich. The film starts in 1936, where the Wollner family, who lives in rural Town Creek (the original title of the movie,) are contacted by the Third Reich to host a visiting scholar, Professor Richard Wirth. In need of money, they accept. Wirth’s grand occult project seals the Wollners off from the rest of the world and makes them players in a horrifying game of survival. After 71 years, in 2007, Evan Marshall’s life has stalled after his older brother Victor’s disappearance from a camping trip near Town Creek, and he can’t seem to pick himself and move on with life. But then Victor returns one night, very much alive and having escaped his captors, Evan asks no questions – at his brother’s request, he loads their rifles, packs up their boat and follows him back to Town Creek.
The whole not-telling-his-brother-wassup thing was stretching my believability, but hey, you throw in a scary bad guy, loads of cool creepy atmosphere, and I’ll let you stretch my suspension of disbelief a little. I’ll work with you.
Now, I tend to get wrapped up in personal and business things to the point I sometimes miss pertinent movies, music and pop culture phenomena, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess I’m not the only one who overlooked this film when it was released. Which is especially surprising with a heavy-hitter director like Schumacher, and a high profile tv actor like Purcell. And given the recent success of “Inglorious Bastards” for Michael Fassbender, who plays one bad Nazi devil here.
A little research into this matter yielded the answer to this mystery — for reasons unknown, Lionsgate gave the film almost no hype and a very limited release, much like they did for “The Midnight Meat Train.” Now, this is supposed to be a movie review, but I’m going to digress here into a bit of a rant.
What the hell is going through your heads over there at Lionsgate?
It’s particularly disappointing that Lionsgate seems to be burying some very dark, disturbing, and GOOD films, exiling them to limited release in only a handful of theaters, and some of them second run discount theaters at that. I cannot understand what is happening here. I can’t understand burying what could have been a nice money maker for them. That Lionsgate opening logo has become almost synonymous with horror in my mind these days, but could it be that Lionsgate is trying to distance themselves form the genre? Could they be making a play for “respectability” with the recent critical successes of “serious” films like “Precious” and “Brothers?”
To be blunt, someone has their head up their ass over there. Because Blood Creek is a good, creepy movie. I saw some homage to “Hellraiser” in the styling of Wirth’s long black coat and sleek head, “Books of Blood” in the carvings in his flesh, and “Lord of Illusions” with the third eye like Nyx.
Do you suppose the Lionsgate guys have something against anything related to Clive Barker, one of the great horror geniuses of our time?
I don’t know, but I can tell you this. Make the effort to find and watch this movie. I did manage to find the trailer above for you to watch. I tried to find some nice photo stills for your visual pleasure, but they are pretty much non-existent.
Even on the Lionsgate website. I could run a studio better than this.
Grade: A- (Probably should be a B+ but sympathy for the shoddy studio treatment)