Another example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, Blood Creek is an interesting and well put together film from Lionsgate laud...

Blood Creek: Immortal Nazis and Zombie Horses. What more can you ask for!?

Another example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, Blood Creek is an interesting and well put together film from Lionsgate lauded as “original and creepy” by ShockTilYouDrop.com. It certainly is both those things, but speaking of the cover, my first impression of it didn’t prepare me for the film. A shot of a bald, scarred head (complete with a swastika) peaking out of a black leather jacket coupled with the blood red Old English script of the title is more reminiscent of Hellraiser than the fight for survival cum supernatural thriller that is Blood Creek. Regardless of first impressions, this film takes an original concept and gives it a fair shake when lesser films would have turned it hokey.

That original concept is this: The Wollners, a German family living in west Virginia, take in Herr Wirth, a scientist sent to study German heritage in America, at the behest of the Nazi government before the outbreak of WWII. It’s revealed Wirth’s mission is not so benign as genealogical study, he’s after the rune stones left by Vikings who scouted North America years before Columbus, which are said to hold the key to immortality and perhaps Nazi domination. Fast forward to 2009. Evan Marshall is a paramedic whose war hero brother, Victor has been missing for two years. When Victor returns in the dead of night hell bent on a mission of revenge, Evan follows him to the Wollner’s farm where they must face an unspeakable evil.

Cinematically there are several moments where the film is beautifully shot. This is especially true of the black and white segments, depicting the Wollner family’s past and their first encounter with Herr Wirth. In one such episode, Wirth brings Liese Wollner’s dead bird back to life. The canted angles and use of light remind me of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and are just as striking. Moving on to CG, the film only uses visual effects when needed and avoids going over the top. This is especially true with the attack of zombie horses on the house (it sounds crazy, but looks amazing!).
As for the immortal antagonist Wirth, decked out in a floor length leather jacket and wrappings, he’s the creepiest German since Indiana Jones and “Frauline…” I appreciate that his reveal is gradual, and for most of the film he is kept in darkness which heightens the terror. There is also that creepy whispering voice he uses to bring things back to life, almost like a lover whispering sweet nothings, but these sweet nothings turn you into a zombie. Speaking of zombies, the walking dead in this film adhere to the original idea of zombies as corpses controlled by a practitioner of the black arts instead of the “I’m gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge” variety. The fact that Wirth can control the dead makes Evan’s job as a paramedic that much more significant, as he has to prevent people from dying and being made into Wirth’s puppets in a life versus death struggle.

Thematically, Blood Creek gestures towards a statement on the war in Iraq, but it’s hard to make out. Victor and Evan have a spat over Victor enlisting behind Evan’s back and Evan’s inadequacy as a soldier. In fact Evan’s final quest can be seen as an effort to prove himself as a warrior. Victor also has a conversation with Wirth about the ethics of “killing the enemy” and calling everyone else monsters. The movie ultimately draws a parallel between military actions in Iraq and the human sacrifices made by the Wirth family, but it never crosses the line into condemnation or affirmation and just toys with a critique of the war.

Blood Creek is an intriguing film and I’m disappointed it didn’t get more hype for a theatrical release in the US. Then again Lionsgate was probably too busy putting money on their prize pony, Saw VI to bother trying to sell something different and new.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this movie sounds really good! The minute you mentioned zombie horses I thought back to all of the "Blind Dead" films. And how can you not love some evil Nazi goodness? Thank you for this post! I'm gonna have to get this one.

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