The quality of Writer/Director JAMES CROW’S third feature made in that capacity, BLACK CREEK (2017), ironically seems somewhat to mirror the plot of the movie. Every time the halfway decent storyline tries to rise into existence, the grade-school level acting of the majority of the cast keeps killing it. Over…and over…and over…and over again.
Maybe I’m not getting it because it wasn’t intended for someone from my generation. Apparently, this was a vehicle for YouTube star CHRIS O’FLYNG, and from the looks of it, he should probably continue with what makes him the most successful, because baby, movies ain’t it. He’s supposed to carry the film as Mike, a kid whose father died under mysterious circumstances, and whose ashes he and his sister are supposed to be spreading in the titular area, accompanied by their stereotypical cast of “red shirts’…uh, I mean FRIENDS. Seeing as an ancient, vengeful Native American spirit is roaming the area, switching from body to body as it slaughters the locals, this task goes about as well as can be expected.
I guess if you’ve been sticking with me and my reviews for a while now, you know what my number one pet peeve is, and BLACK CREEK just kept hammering on it for the entire length of its running time, which was mercifully short – just a whisper over an hour. Nothing agonizes me more than a movie that has at least a few things going for it, yet it repeatedly shoots itself in the foot. The most frustrating thing is that it’s got the goods everywhere else. SCOTT FOX DEAR’S cinematography is more than decent by low-budget standards, as are the makeup effects team’s efforts led by JEREMY WANEK. Even the score by PETE COLEMAN wouldn’t be half-bad in the movie that this was trying to be…but wasn’t.
And the two best actors out of everyone – KAYLEE WILLIAMS as hapless victim ‘Lorna’, and PIERSE STEVENS as the Sheriff – aren’t in the movie nearly long enough to compensate for the rest of the actors, whose emoting is so gawdawful, even MST3K might give this one a pass. But the most egregious sins lie with O’Flyng and LEAH PATRICK as his girlfriend, ‘Jenna’. When you have a leading couple who are pretty much talent- and chemistry-free, and they’re supposed to be the ones carrying your movie, that movie is pretty much screwed.
By comparison to other supernatural-based rural slashers on about the same level as this, the one thing you could say is that some of them had at least a couple of stand-out performances. Even the casts of the worst installments of franchises like FRIDAY THE 13TH and the ELM STREET films, had actors whose performances at least managed to keep you engaged.
Maybe Crow just did the best he could with the cast he had to work with. It’s more than obvious that he’s got skills. Having checked out the trailers for some of his other films, like CURSE OF THE WITCHING TREE and HOUSE OF SALEM, as well as projects where he was only the screenwriter, like RIOT and HE WHO DARES, based on what I saw, I plan on checking out more of his work, which otherwise looks pretty promising. But if you’re like me, and you’ve never heard of him or his efforts before, I would strongly suggest you not start with BLACK CREEK.
With sincere apologies to the crew who supported this, I have to give BLACK CREEK one-and-a-half out of five stars.