Rudy Schwartz's Reviews

I have to admit, I popped this one in expecting a complete piece of crap, and it ended up being an okay, unsettling horror/revenge flick. A little slow paced at the start, it manages to build into a disgusting, filthy, morally ambiguous descent into unpleasantness, with obvious comparisons to Deliverance. You don't get the hilarity of Ned Beatty being ass raped by a hillbilly, but what you do get in the last two thirds of the movie is arguably better, even if you often can't tell what the fuck is going on.

To be fair, I've got the edited Treeline version, which probably has a lot of the violence edited out, and sometimes has enough noise and graininess in it to resemble one of those tedious Stan Brakhage experimental films that people pretend to like when they're trying to impress a gathering of art students in a dingy apartment, yelling over the top of an Aphex Twin CD, and wondering how many deleterious bacteria are lurking in the vegetable dip. Still, it's better to watch a Stan Brakhage film than to hear somebody talk about it, so it could be worse. There are also numerous scenes where there's not enough light to see what's happening, but maybe that was just a prescient nod to the Kyoto Accords.

There are also a lot of people yelling incomprehensible shit at the same time, producing the effect of listening to cable news over a cell phone while standing on a freeway. Sometimes it seems deliberate. This compounds the confusion already caused by very little of anyone's motivations being explained. So it sounds like a disjoint mess, but still manages to pull itself together and deliver some entertainment, albeit in an extremely uncomfortable way.

Some doctors decide to hire a plane and a guide to fly them into the Ontario wilderness for six days of fishing. Everything seems fine at first. They fish. They start a campfire. They argue about sarcomas and other medical problems while getting drunk, and one of them blows up one of those inflatable love dolls, with no explanation given, and no comments made. Maybe this is common in the medical profession. Maybe it's because one of the doctors looks like Antonin Scalia with a Bob Denver/Gilligan cap.

On the second day, things start to go wrong. Boots are stolen during the night. Swarms of bees attack. A bear trap slams shut on a guy's leg when he tries to cross a river. Apparently somebody has lured them into a fishing vacation for the purpose of torturing them. And it really gets extremely nasty, despite the aforementioned shortcomings. On the third day or so, they wake up to a head on a stick. I don't want to give much more away, but if you can stay awake through the first half hour, you might like this one, especially when Hal Holbrook has to cauterize the artery in his leg with gunpowder and a match. Sometimes it makes sense to bring along some aspirin on a camping trip.

The credits roll over a schlocky Hagood Hardy score. Hagood is a Canadian composer known for his elevator standard The Homecoming. Many Canadians were involved in the making of The Creeper, but that's really not why I'd recommend it. It would hold its own, even if it were made in South Dakota. By the way, did you know that in Ontario, milk is most often purchased in a bag? It's true! I thought it was a little weird at first, but now I'm convinced that bags are the correct way to deliver and consume milk.

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