Directed by Erik Soulliard
Written by Erik Soulliard
Cinematography by Jason Contino
Music by Tim Jesiolowski
Cast: Dave Foster, Brian Jesiolowski, Erik Soulliard, Kathryn Merry, Melissa Rhoads, Nancy Soulliard, Tim Jesiolowski
Review from Promotional Screener DVD
Five years after the death of their friend Billy, six friends return the cabin the woods where he died after his ghost appears before each of them. The six have not all been together since the night Billy died, and their bitter-sweet reunion brings up memories of both the best and worst of times. As the group begins drinking, and trying to figure out just what Billy wants with them after five years, suspicions arise as to whether the death was an accident as the police say, or something more sinister. The evening progresses with heated arguments and unexpected revelations of the past, but when one of them is murdered, the surviving five must try and put their differences aside to figure out just what is happening deep within the isolated woods.
The Creek is the brainchild from Erik Soulliard, whose makes his directorial and writing debut here, and also provides the almost one-man production and post-production team for the ultra low-budget film. This may be one of the best movies filmed in someone's backyard to come out in quite some time, and this is largely responsible for Soulliard's extremely professional stance he has taken in bringing the movie together. Though the budget limitations are visible throughout, the fairly engaging ghost story and the enthusiasm that can be felt through the film easy outweighs the videotape transfer and sometimes distorted sound.
Most of the cast makes their film debut here, with the exception of Soulliard who plays Jesse and Kathryn Merry who plays Angel and provides the goth-metal eye candy for the movie. Soulliard takes a chance by giving the most important role of the group's antagonist Calvin to first timer Dave Foster. Foster chews through the over-dramatic lines and reactions that provide the conflict of the movie with a twitch of insanity and a pinch of unrestrained jealousy that really makes the character unlikable, which is of course the point. The rest of the inexperienced cast tries to keep up with equally ambitious acting, though sometimes fall flat in delivering Soulliard's corny one-liners and forced dialogue the pock-marks the script or trying to find the proper motivation for their character.
With the movie being shot on video, it naturally leads to a lot of black on the screen at times when there is not enough light to pick up the actors in the almost exclusive night time setting of the movie, which aids in keeping the scare factor up during the course of the film. With so much black on screen, with many times just the actor's lit face the only thing visible, the tension that something is going to pop in to that open negative space keeps the tension high. Soulliard's framing and editing, as well as a fairly creepy main theme tune that plays under most of the movie, also enhances the spooky scares.
But what really sells the spook atmosphere is Soulliard's pleasantly surprising and professional ghost effects for Billy. The double imaging, fades, evil blue hue and just a touch of otherworldly make-up create a frightening visage of a spectre that isn't fooling around, and the finished effect would easily make the grade in an equivalent Hollywood production. Billy's true intentions are also kept a mystery throughout the film, leading to an uneasy feeling in the gut whenever he shows up and the consequences that follow.
Despite the rather thin development of the characters and their ability to instantly come to grips with their dead friend's returning as a spirit and coincidental reuniting on the eve of his anniversary, what Soulliard's debut offers is a strong sense of spooks, frights, and tension laced from the start to finish that over-shadow any of the other limitations with a genuine aspiration to give the viewer the heebie-jeebies.
The Creek is currently making the rounds amongst the US film festival circuit, and has been featured so far at the Illinois International Film Festival, Atlanta Horrorfest, and the Spooky Movie Film Festival amongst others. Several other festival appearances are in the works, before Soulliard begins working on the DVD.
For more information on the film, where it is currently being screened, and for future DVD release updates check out www.thecreekmovie.com
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Review by Ryan Midnight. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©