Thursday, October 06, 2011

Boggy Creek and Learning to Turn the Tension Dial to 10: A Movie Review

Director: Brian T. Jaynes.

Writer: Bryan T. Jaynes and Jennifer Minar.

There have been many films created about a legendary monster spotted in and around Texarkana. The creature has been called the Fourke Monster, but here the hairy villain will be known more simply as bigfoot or the Sasquatch. There have been at least three other Boggy Creek films beginning in 1972 and this reviewer admits to not seeing any of the previous films (The Legend of Boggy Creek, Return to Boggy Creek). Boggy Creek, starring Texas Battle ("Death Valley"), Melissa Carnell (Humans Versus Zombies), Julin (Sweatshop) and Denise Williamson (Spirit Camp), in a very under the radar release in this series as Hannover House did not promote the September 13th release on DVD at all. The lack of tension in a supposed horror movie explains why there was little fan fare.

Several friends meet up at a lakeside cabin for lots of drinks of Lone Star products. There are Lone Star beers, Lone Star boxes and Lone Star almost everywhere. The product placement is not subtle, but the thrills are. Boggy Creek begins with an exciting hook, as a young woman is chased in a dark field by an unseen creature. Her guts are found the next day. A camper also has his heart removed from his chest, but much of the rest of the film is toned down. Whether this strategy was devised to appeal to a younger audience can only be hypothesized. However, the film is more like a buddy movie as friends reminisce or just drink the night away. And sometimes that drinking involves a strange transforming Tequila bottle, then Whiskey bottle, then....(the crew apparently drank the rest of the Tequila).

Continuity errors aside, composer Brandon Bentli's first score to film is a great one. There are original tracks in the film and the music adds some lighter tones around the edges. There needed to be some more atmospheric choices early, while the final frames are full of disconcerting musical choices. As well, Francois Frizat (Humans Versus Zombies) scenery and camera choices are often breathtaking. The woods and swamps around Uncertain, Texas are simply a wonder to watch. This unique landscape is one of the highlights of the film.

But there is one huge lowlight in the film that brings the entire experience down - the writing. Brian T. Jaynes is great behind the camera e.g. tracking shots, close-ups, cross-cuts. The script, however, is uninspiring and lacking true horror elements. The characters are thankfully not cliches. The story is just too simple. There must be a few more ways that a Sasquatchploitation film an go other than stalking chasing and disemboweling. As well, much of the violent action takes place off screen, to protect audiences? A raping Sasquatch should surely seem a little more menacing, no?

This reviewer would not recommend Boggy Creek to horror fans, but younger audiences might find the film appealing. Boggy Creek has a very soft approach to genre and deteriming the film's genre is a little more difficult than it should be. This critic would classify the film as a pseudo-thriller which changes to tragedy. There are a lot of buddy elements here too e.g. drinking, socializing. Overall, the film needed a sharper edge to keep the film interesting, outside of the great music and excellent cinematography. This is one creature that needed a lot more bite and maybe even some rabies.

Cinematography/setting: 8 (gorgeous scenery, great long shots).
Music/atmosphere: 7.75 (great light tones, more dark tones required).
Writing/plot/story: 5 (the script is just too simple with only the ending adding a flourish).

Overall: 6.9 out of 10.

The film's fan page is here:

Boggy Creek on Facebook

James D at the Wicked Channel uses the longest paragraph in English to review the film here:

Boggy Creek Reviewed at Wicked Channel

Recommended for teenagers as there is very little swearing, gore, sexuality etc. (less than most):

Boggy Creek on DVD at Amazon

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