Now, I have to admit that I am fond of “B” Monster movies.
It isn’t exactly one of the most demanding of sub-genres: after all, one doesn’t expect that the creatures be perfectly realistic, or that the plot be hole-free, or that the acting,dialogue or depth of characterization be more than average. After all, it is all about having fun for an hour and a half and the goofy and silly bits usually just add to the fun.
Here, though, we have the classic example of the film that starts out so well.
We’ve got a lovely — and very real — Alaskan town, and a dredging crew looking for gold in the sands when they stir up a colony of Sea Vampires.
Hey, that’s what they call them.
They’re really more like an evil Manta Ray, and can actually fly on their leathery wings, like a bat. And they suck the blood out of their victims.
I have to admit I quite like the creatures here. They look quite crude, but I like the big toothy fixed grin and I’m pretty sure that they are actually a puppet in most of the shots — there’s even a moment when you can see the wire on the wing of one of the creatures.
…Well, I assume it’s a real wire, and not just a bit of digital humor on the part of the animator…
But I’m awfully tired of bad CGI, and by far prefer a bad, but real, puppet.
The film actually looks quite promising when we reach the second set of killings: the film even builds a bit of suspense. Sure, we know they’re doing the old Jaws thing, particularly when a biologist conveniently shows up, but then, we expect that in a sea-going monster movie. It’s like getting popcorn with your movie ticket.
But this is where it all starts going wrong.
We’re used to the whole “no one believes us” schtick. It’s a standard. Well, at least since Jaws. But it is a little odd when you are trying to warn the entire town of the menace and you never say, “oh by the way, we have a baby one in a tank and you can look at what it did to the body of our father.”
Although it’s even stranger that none of them bother to mention that their father has actually been killed by one of these things.
And things just go downhill from here.
Even after people start getting slaughtered left and right, it never seems to occur to them to start showing people all the bodies, fishy or otherwise. We get a half-hearted excuse for not getting any help from the authorities early on, and a quick reference to weather or something like that keeping anyone from reaching them, but honestly, couldn’t they just have brought in the usual idiot Sheriff and killed him off?
And some of the things are just too silly for words: I mean, honestly, couldn’t you have warned someone about moving that sand pile with the creature under it?
Although it is even sillier that someone would try to move several tons of sand with a garden spade!
Before long, we seem to have forgotten that there is anyone else in this town, altogether — or that the evil crime lord put explosives with timers on the heroes’ boat.
Now, I can accept the goofy weapons they come up with, or that all the buildings in town look like the same industrial garage, or that bright lights make these things explode. That goes with the territory. But it’s just too much when two attempts to fight the creatures are compromised when the same generator fails. The same one! You’d think they’s at least have brought a spare. or two. I mean, heck, they’re just breaking in and taking what they need.
And it is very hard to accept the happy ending, with the survivors planning to sail off into the sunset, dredging for gold, when they blew up their own boat.
I really don’t thing the insurance is going to cover that.
The creatures are bad in an interesting way and are worth a look if you love creature features as much as I do.
Just so long as you are willing to put up with the rest of the film.