Even undead Nazis have those great leather jackets.
Joel Schumacher directs a movie about revenge, undead Nazi occultists, German immigrant farmers in West Virginia, kidnapping and torture, blood sacrifices, Viking rune magick, and zombie farm animals. (There is no punch line.)
“Blood Creek” (2009)
directed by Joel Schumacher
written by Dave Kajganich
starring Dominic Purcell, Henry Cavill, and Michael Fassbender
How Is It?
When he's not given money to throw around willy-nilly like a drunken sailor or Congress and pressured to turn out a studio-funding blockbuster, Joel Schumacher can really deliver the goods. I did not rent “Blood Creek” with much confidence but with curiosity. By the end of it I wasn't blown away, but I was more than duly impressed.
Everyone did well, though I'd love to see Purcell in something that doesn't require guns, hand-to-hand combat, and younger brothers wound up in trouble. I wager he's a better actor than for what he's typecast. Henry Cavill performs admirably as the younger brother who goes along with his older brother's desperate revenge scheme and gets more than he bargained for in the end. Cardboard characters, yes, but with a bit of life breathed into them.
Michael Fassbender plays the villain, and of course, he steals the show. The opening and first scenes of the film are about his character, Professor Wirth, and establishes background for the film. The rest of the cast, who play Wirth's host family, the Wollners, don't really get much to work with from the script, but – and this is no slight – they all do excellent jobs playing essentially an ordinary immigrant farmers... and zombie slaves. It is sometimes painful to watch actors try to “act ordinary”, but it's actually done quite well in this film.
Behind the Camera
The writing is good. The weakest part, oddly enough, is the setup about and between the brothers up until they get past the fence at the Wollner farm. Getting the know the brothers is a bit of a drag, sandwiched as it is between a really interesting (and very well shot) opening with Wirth and his introduction to the Wollners and the start of the conflict once the boys show up at the farm and things start going down twisted. That said, the opening and the goings on at the farm make up for it. It's a typical cat-and-mouse escape story done in a refreshing new way. There's something to be said for that. It's not an outstanding script, but it's some better than average in that it's telling an interesting story in a fairly limited genre.
It's Joel Schumacher at the helm and on a budget, and it looks good. Without lots of money to waste on bells and whistles, flashy/silly costumes, and cavernous sets, he brings some real, veteran filmmaking skill to bear, especially with the movie's opening and setup. There's not much else to say other than: He's Joel Schumacher, and he knows how to shoot a good movie.
“Blood Creek” is an interesting take on a fairly standard story in a pretty worn genre, and most of it is reasonably well written. The drawback there is that the section that drags leaves a rather dull hole near the middle of the film, between a cool introduction and a good conflict. The film is well executed, both in direction and production design and value. All in all, “Blood Creek” is better than average for the genre and worth watching.