Evil Aliens, Zombies, Vampires, Cannibals, and a Nun with Guns! “Savage Creatures” reviewed! (ITN Distribution / DVD)


On God-fearing land, two young women drifters are shown compassion and hospitality by a religiously devout mother and son offering hot food, a shower, and a bed for the night. Their seemingly infallible generosity turns to violent deviancy as concealed motives of their cannibalism catches the women off guard that inevitably places the unsuspecting women literally on the chopping block, but the drifters are no ordinary, helpless prey but rather ancient vampires, wandering from one small town to the next, struggling to exist. Just when the bloodsuckers think the ordeal is over, a worldwide invasion of soul-sucking aliens aim to cleanse Earth of all inhabitants, turning those attacked by the beings into flesh-hungry crazies. Trapped inside the cannibals’ house, the vampires must save their human food source from completely being eradicated by an aggressive alien race with a conduit to possibly the Holy Father himself.

Talk about a full monty horror movie that has nearly everything but the kitchen sink! “Savage Creatures” is the 2020 released ambitious action-horror written and directed by Richard Lowry (“President Evil”) that serves up a platter of creativity ingenuity on a micro-budget while still outputting savagery, creatures, and an entertaining good time from start to finish. Lowry embodies inspired resourcefulness that reminisces the economically efficient horror credits of long time indie filmmaking entrepreneur Brett Piper (“Queen Crab”) and though serving as the filmmaker with many hats, composer, editor, director of photography, and visual effects, he also incorporates his own pleasurable schlocky devices as he shoots in the rocky rural regions of Pine Valley, Utah complete with isolated roads and mountainous views. The epically scaled “Savage Creatures” is a creature feature accomplished feat, try saying that ten times fast!

The two vampiric drifters, Rose and Ursula, serve as the story’s centralized characters played by Kelly Brook and Victoria Steadman respectively. Both actresses have worked with Lowry previously on his 2018 Armageddon-esque action-comedy, “Apocalypse Rising,” and familiar with his budgetary style, able to alleviate the pangs of severe funding limitations with some fundamentally respectable performances. Rose and Ursula are not only lovers, but lovers with a cavalier premise on life stemmed from the centuries of human evolving groundwork, shedding a light on questions that should be asked and pondered on in every day modern vampire story. The dynamic between Brook and Steadman strike the nerve sincerely with causal conversation, pressing upon their inevitable doom in between blowing off zombies heads and fragging flying aliens with crossbows as if they’re exacting some self-decompression through violence. Though Brook and Steadman are good and stable throughout, vet actor Greg Travis lands a the lauded performance of Father Cooper, a fanatical Irish priest on the run from the zombie horde. The “Humanoids from the Deep” and “Mortuary” actor goes full blown dogmatic with his theory of God being fed up with humanity and pulls off the extremely righteous and holy neurotic priest as an overboard affable character whose has to trust a couple of godless feminist vampires during apocalyptic mayhem. Rounding out the cast is Ryan Quinn Adams (“Before the Dark”), Cean Okada (“Bubba Ho-Tep”), and Kannon Smith as Sister Gigi, a mute nun with guns.

From the very beginning, “Savage Creatures” maintains a fiendish tempo of anti-heros and butchery. Even the soundtrack, though a relentless boor of stock action selection, plainly works to “Savage Creatures'” advantage one scene after another inside the scope of the sharp, periphery sublet moments to keep up with the breakneck pace. Lowdry’s sees little-to-no expositional sagging in the middle or on the bookends and diverts away from any hankering for a character story or background to fluff up worth-wild characters. With the exception of Rose and Ursula, who complain like boomers conversing upon reminiscing about the past on how easy times once were centuries ago to get away with murder before technology became an inconvenience, much of the cannibals, the priests and nun, and even the flying devil ay like aliens backstories don’t bubble to the surface. While typically these off the cuff details usually roll my eyes back into my skull to scour my brain for the minor moments in which I might have mistakenly missed something about a character backstory or just produce a hefty sigh of longing for more personal information on why this character does what they do, I found “Savage Creatures” uniquely isn’t symptomizing a distress of forgoing persona tell-all; instead, plays uncharacteristically to the obverse tune of an entertaining racket of head splitting, limb chopping, and with a hint of rampant gun akimbo.

Buyer beware! Don’t trust the cretinous DVD cover from ITN Distribution of appears to be Julian Sands from “Warlock” raging angrily with milky white eyes and standing over Cthulhu tentacles surrounding him in the foreground and silhouettes of bats are hovering over in front of a savior-esque crown moon in the background. Instead, trust your gut (or this review!) and see “Savage Creatures” on DVD home video presented in an anamorphic widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Pine Valley, Utah never looked so picturesque in a clean transfer. The natural colors feel a bit faded and not as sharp that perhaps assists in blended Lowdry’s composited effects and practical creature design. The cabin night sequence has some noticeable banding, but isn’t a game changer. The English language Dolby Digital audio track is par for the course, running clean and clear dialogue, and satisfying a range of sounds. Depth’s tricky with Lowdry’s compositions that don’t hem neatly, especially when Rose and Ursula crossbow down aliens from a distance, the same cry of pain is utilized for each darted creatures, and the running stock soundtrack flutters in front and behind the gun play at times. DVD bonus material include a director commentary, behind-the-scenes with the actresses and crew, and a VFX breakdown, which I thought was neat to see how Lowdry layered his effects on a budget. Not listed as a bonus feature is the gag reel during the end credits. “Savage Creatures” enters 2020 as an all out brawl designed as a battle royal but with little bankroll; yet, director Richard Lowdry beats the odds, pinning out a win as the scathed champion of his latest apocalyptic caper!

“Savage Creatures” battle it out on DVD!

From the Evil Mind of Don Coscarelli! John Dies at the End review!

jdateposterIf you did a retrospective analysis of Don Coscarelli’s film career and try to pinpoint Coscarelli’s area of specialty with in the realm of horror, you’ll wind up scattered all over the place unable to achieve an exact position of Coscarelli’s sub-genre schtick. His latest (and greatest) film endeavor John Dies at the End embarks on being Coscarelli’s next longevity cult hit. Unpredictable and captivating forces you to forget that this indie movie bares no no-named stardom and borders the edge of “crinchable” special effects, but the story grabs you, shakes you, chews you up, and spits you out wanting to know more while leaving you wondering what the hell just happened…in a good way.

Paranormal exorcists and best friends David and John are bound by the supernatural Soy Sauce, a jet black living drug that give David and John the outer body experience and is the source of their powers to fight evil. The Soy Sauce has a ying-yang affect and drive them down a path of sends them into another dimension to face off agains’t a monstrous being that wants to absorb their dimensions knowledge by digesting everything they know!
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John Dies at the End won’t scare you. There are no thrills or chills. What it will do is give you a wicked acid trip. Where bits of meat conjure together to become a meat monster, where door handles morph into large veiny penises, and where eye balls burst out by soul devouring gnats! Only Coscarelli’s mind could be this warped and that warp sense mixture of humor and horror keeps our attention waiting to see what happens next. This mixture also drives the film which is a definite positive, but can also be a negative.

Coscarelli’s film feels all over the place that makes the concept hard to grasp. The non-linear plot places characters in our conscious in disorderly manner without any grounded statuses. By the end of the movie, I start to wonder if there are pieces missing from the story boards. The concept of time doesn’t seem to exist and that might be part of the film’s facade as the drug-fueled outer-body experience.

Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are great as Dave and John. Dave’s a passive person with a sarcastic attitude but willing to stand John’s frantic personality. John, as I said before, is a bit spastic and has that carpe diem attitude. Their contrast draws them together to form a powerhouse team. Tack on Clancy Brown as a co-worker of their trade with a sleazy white hairdo and Paul Giamatti as a skeptic feature reporter and you have great talent supporting the the two leads who are already phenomenal as your slummy ghostbusters. Doug Jones (Hellboy) makes an appearance whose character doesn’t have enough time screen in my opinion as an other dimension mystic. Lets not forget the cameo of Angus Scrimm as a demon priest – fantastic.
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John Dies at the End will smack you in the face and you’ll smile at the end. You’ll definitely get some laughs because this horror comedy is nearly in the same vein as the Bubba Ho-tep with the anal soul sucking mummy. Magnet Releasing brings you the next Don Coscarelli hit and you can purchase at Amazon.