“In the early 1930’s Adolph Hitler and his inner circle became obsessed with the occult, believing that the black arts were the key to their plan for world domination. Nazi agents traveled the globe in search of ancient Nordic relics known as rune stones. They believed if they harnessed the power of these stones, nothing could stop the march of the master race. The symbols inscribed in these stones were said to describe the path to immortality. Almost a century later, the nightmare has awakened.”
We’ve heard of these fantasies of Hitler’s before. There have been countless History Channel documentaries on the subject. Most of this interest in Hitler’s search for the supernatural was peaked by the film Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which uses this search as its premise. But it is somewhat an unforgiveable sacrilege to mention the first Indiana Jones film in a review about Blood Creek. Temple Of Doom, maybe. But not Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Ooops. I did it again. (Sorry Brittany.)
In 1936 the Wollner family is sent a letter from the Third Reich in Germany. The letter explains that a researcher by the name of Wirth (Fassbender) would be arriving soon to study the unusually marked stones the family uncovered when they built their home. The Reich would give them $250 for the trouble. With America not yet involved in the war, the family felt there could be no harm, and they really needed the cash. So they agreed. When Wirth arrives, he conducts a ritual in the basement at the foot of a large stone with odd inscriptions.
Warp to the present day. Evan Marshall (Cavill) lives with his senile father. Two years ago his brother Victor (Purcell) returned from a tour in Iraq only to disappear on an outing with Evan. The disappearance has taken quite a toll on the brother and his father. One night Victor suddenly appears and asks Evan to prepare supplies and weapons quickly. With no word of explanation and looking bloody and ragged, the older brother leads them out into the woods and on the creek where he originally vanished. They end up at a ranch house secluded in the wilderness. It is here that he has been captive for two years, held prisoner by an old family, and I do mean old. It’s our old friends the Wollners, and they haven’t aged much at all. They’ve been guarding Wirth who has transformed himself into a zombie creature which the Wollners have been keeping at bay with the rune symbols. But the brothers have set him free. No one is safe as the Wirth creature goes on a rampage, creating zombie horses and converting any human who happens to die in the way. He’s attempting to evolve into an immortal super being, unless the family and the brothers Marshall can stop him now.
This is an odd film from director Joel Schumacher. It might be some misguided attempt to bring back his early Lost Boys routine, but this film doesn’t come close to that cult classic. That doesn’t mean that Blood Creek is a bad film. It’s not. It’s also not really a good film. The first half of the film is quite entertaining and solid. Starting with a very effective 1936 segment that sets up the film, it moves along quite nicely once we get to the present. From the moment Victor shows up, the film has a frantic pace that keeps the action and the suspense going quite nicely, indeed. When the brothers arrive at the farmhouse, the film doesn’t miss a beat. Everything is going quite well until darkness falls and the group is trying to barricade themselves against the Wirth creature. The creature itself is actually a pretty good makeup creation. But before long, this film just gets lost in its own translation. The mythology gets in the way, and the Wirth creature goes into several transformations that, while it might be excellent eye candy, isn’t really doing anything for the film. Then there are the zombie horses. At least his characters are ridiculously prepared. I mean, how many people happen to have a rabies vaccination in their backpack? The climax is pretty stupid and ends up offering no payoff to what was such a sweet start.
The cast is mostly unknowns with the exceptions of Dominic Purcell who gives up his Prison Break Brother for another brother here. There is also the appearance of Michael Fassbender as the Wirth creature who recently found some recognition in the remake of Vainglorious Bastards, taking him out of the obscurity of a mostly small-time television career. This is no step forward, but the performance is solid enough.
Blood Creek is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is a very dark film even in broad daylight. There’s setting a mood, and then there’s presenting a canvas that’s merely colorless and drab. Black levels are inconsistent here and are never very good. It’s a shame, really, but it doesn’t appear that the transfer offers much respect for a Schumacher title. There are plenty of compression issues even though the film stands alone on the disc with no extras.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is as unimpressive as everything else here. Dialog is about all you get. You would expect the creature chase moments to be more lively. You would be wrong.
The film suffered through a few title changes. It’s still officially listed as Town Creek. I assume Blood Creek was intended to conjure scarier images for an American direct to video audience. The film has also been known under the name Creek. The funny thing is that the creek in the film plays absolutely no part in the action. We see the characters use their canoe to traverse it for about a minute in and out. That’s it. No creek action here. No bloody waters. No tie to the film’s mythology. Just a misleading title. The film sets itself up for sequel action and even a Supernatural style series as the brothers appear ready to search for more of these runes. Rent it, for the first half of the film. Buy it if you dare, but “Watch out for them Nazi zombie vampires”.