There’s something sort of charming about a movie that is so completely derivative and unoriginal. There are no illusions on the part of the filmmakers that they are making CITIZEN KANE. Everyone involved gets together and says, “This is going to be one crappy horror movie – let’s do it!” CREATURE UNKNOWN is one such film. It’s about 2 parts FRIDAY THE 13th and 1 part CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. The result is a pretty entertaining shlock-fest with enough gore and laughter to keep me smiling for 80 minutes.
CREATURE UNKNOWN somehow finds a contrived way to get its cast of characters together and into the woods. In this case, it’s a reunion of old high school friends who decide, God knows why, to get together and go up into the forest where one of the crew’s dead brother. At least, they think he’s dead. He disappeared years ago and was never seen since. So, clearly, it’s the prime spot for a reunion. I’d have picked Hawaii, maybe Miami, or even perhaps a nice ballroom at a Holiday Inn. Nope, they have to go to where the brother disappeared. Smart.
Once they get there, of course the traditional cliques start to form and the strains of the social fabric are revealed. But, really, who cares? Not one of these characters is interesting. Coincidentally, not one of the actors playing them can act. Pretty soon they start to get taken out one by one by a creature. How do we know it’s a creature? Because the movie shows it to us from the very beginning. No subtle hints here.
Soon Chase Masterson of DEEP SPACE NINE gets involved as a doctor with a secret. This secret torments her and leads to numerous incredibly strained dramatic scenes between her and the surviving brother. In the meantime, we get to see the creature leap around the woods killing young people. Let’s talk about this creature for a second. I’m somewhat of a connoisseur of bad monster outfits. After all, one of my favorites is HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. But this one is up there with the worst. It looks like a costume that you could buy at your neighborhood Ricky’s, covered with water to make it look like “slime.” Best of all is the creature’s face, which is so obviously a mask that they don’t even try to make the expression change.
All of this leads to a big secret that you could see coming a mile away. And yet, part of the reason I enjoyed this movie is because the secret is so obvious. Don’t get me wrong, there’s essentially nothing of merit in this movie. The acting, effects, costumes, plotting, are all pretty much crap. But this movie gets by just this side of “so bad it’s good.” I am embarrassed to admit it, but I enjoyed CREATURE UNKNOWN.
RATING: *** (out of four)