Creature Feature Movie Review
Written by Greg Fisher
Released by Brain Damage Films
Written and directed by Chase Smith
2015, 79 minutes, Rated R
DVD and VOD released on August 23rd, 2016
Tenille Houston as Norma Jean
Becca Beton as Cola (as Rebecca Beton)
Libby Blanton as Reagan
Chase Smith as Cash
Christina Klein as Rachel (as Christina Marie)
Jason Vail as Jack
Creature Feature is the brainchild of writer/director/actor Chase Smith. Four vignettes intertwine with each other and the frame story that encompasses them. Oversexed coeds sit in a comfy booth at a party and exchange tepid horror stories. Little do they all know, those stories, which include a horrific clown, a werewolf, a scarecrow, and the undead, tie into their own world.
Making a film of vignettes that ultimately come to bear in the movie's "real world" and doing a convincing job of it would be tough for most filmmakers. Luckily, it seems Chase chose the best route to not buckle under the pressure, and that was to make the most innocuously tepid horror movie he could imagine. Very little stakes are presented, very little care was given, and for good measure, the writer/ director cast himself in a large role so he had even less perspective on the project.
It would be shorter for me to list the things that the film does the right way: the camera tends to keep at least one actor in shot at any given time, and the makeup for the clown is at the very least partially scary, even if it cribs from American Horror Story.
There seems to be little reason to comment on the performances of the film for a simple reason: the stories are meant to be a throwback to the old creature features, they are simply acting as directed. Any hokey or campy performance is done in that light. No one stands out, either for a superb performance or a complete stinker. Unfortunately, given any amount of time after viewing, no actor seems to have left their mark on the viewer, barring the horrific take on southern accents that some of the actors attempt.
This leaves us with what doesn't work. The most egregious error lies within the sound mixing. There seems to be no cohesive sound level from scene to scene, or even within them. Audio goes from barely audible to ear splitting. The most glaring example is an outdoor location at night. One actor was filmed with crickets very noticeably chirping in the background. When the camera switches to show the second actor, the background audio is silent. As the film goes back and forth between the two, the viewer is taken out of the story with this terrible oversight. The camerawork was done with the same lack of detail or care. In several scenes, the camera lingers several beats too long over a tertiary character, one who is not speaking or reacting. The director also uses the catalyst in the story of a "strange fog" inciting the stories simply to get the most use of the fog machine he bought at a local flea market.
The smoking gun to proving this as nothing more than a D-grade horror flick is the director's insistence that there be female nudity, regardless of the sense it makes for both the character or the story, in every vignette. When the film isn't grabbing the audience, he assumes that some breasts might help change things.
Let the actresses keep their clothes on and learn how to write a compelling story.