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By Brad Wilke | November 21, 2008

“The Creek”, an unfortunately amateurish horror film written, directed, edited and produced by Erik Soulliard, begins with a group of friends on a weekend camping trip. Following some drunken revelry, the gang splits up to either go to sleep, take a walk, or get a little more drunk. One of the friends, Billy, decides to wander along the, um, creek… and is bludgeoned with a rock. Considering the angle of attack, the limited number of suspects and the accuracy of modern forensic medicine, you’d think the local cops would have this wrapped up lickety-split. Well, you’d be wrong.

“Billy’s death was officially considered an accident…”

Without that helpful bit of information found on the back of the dvd screener, I’d still be in the dark. Come to think of it, even with that extra info, I’m pretty confused…

Now jump ahead 5 years.

The Ghost of Billy (kudos to the effects department… he looks pretty good for a dead guy) begins appearing to each of the friends, one after the other. Apparently, they all still live in the same town and within a couple minutes drive of each other because before you know it, they’ve reunited and decided it makes sense to return to the cabin to put “Billy to rest.” Somehow. Well, it makes sense to them.

As soon as they arrive, though, old tensions resurface and expository dialogue is exchanged. Cliched dialogue is uttered with great earnestness. And of course there’s the one girl in the brown sweater who’s a pretty bad actress and won’t stop mugging for the camera and spasticly covers her face when she screams and talks a mile a minute because she’s SO DAMN ANNOYING!

Actually, they’re all pretty annoying.

So after they argue for a little while, two of the guys disappear into the woods. Great. So much for laying Billy to rest.

But now the question arises: who will be killed first? Usually, it’s the most annoying character and sometimes it’s the most sympathetic. Since this movie has a surplus of the former and none of the latter, I’m going to go ahead and guess it’s going to be one of the annoying ones.

“Did you guys hear that?” “I’m going to go check it out.” With that, the last of the men disappears into the woods in the middle of the night.

And now they’re all in the woods. Wandering. In the middle of the night. Real smart, kids.

One down. The Ghost of Billy got one of the annoying ones (looks like I was right). Wow. The special FX are… how can I put this delicately? Sort of fake-y looking.

As a reviewer, whenever I have the privilege of watching an independent film that a group of people spent a fair amount of time creating, you better believe I want to like it. It gives me no pleasure to point out the shortcomings of a particular film, but… I have to do it in the hopes that somewhere, someone will read it and take the words to heart and actually go out and make a good film. If someone doesn’t do it, filmmakers will never know and people will keep making bad movies. Or at least make a bad film in their own unique way.

Anyway, let’s get back to “The Creek”…

This is a loyal group of friends, by the way. Even though nothing seems to be stopping them from leaving, these guys are sticking around to make sure that The Ghost of Billy has a chance to kill each and every one of them. And kill them he does.

And then the remaining survivors stand around for at least 5 minutes to discuss what just happened, how they feel about it and what they plan to do next.

Is there a ghost or isn’t there a ghost? It’s hard to say for sure. Remember “The Sixth Sense”? That was a good ghost movie because it created a set of rules and then stuck to them. “The Creek” wants to have its film logic and eat it, too. And because it breaks its own rules, it keeps the audience guessing in all the wrong ways. And nobody likes to be kept in the dark.

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