The Creeper (a.k.a. Rituals) is the perfect example of a movie I should have paid way more attention to. You’d think with these drive-in movies, you could just put them on, watch and have a good ol’ time without paying too much attention, but that’s not really the case with The Creeper. It also doesn’t help when you start it one week, fall asleep and then try to watch it two weeks later, fall asleep and then finish it the next morning. The plot of the movie finds five adult friends going to a really remote patch of forest–so remote that it takes two separate plane rides to get there–where they’re planning on doing some camping. But, things get crazy after the first night when all their shoes get stolen and the one guy who thought to bring a second pair (and who apparently told the others to do the same, which they didn’t and he yelled at them for it like a scolding mother) goes off to find help. After the creeper sets up a weird deer carcass near their camp, the remaining guys try to follow their more adventurous buddy. Soon enough, they start getting killed and injured thanks to bee hives and bear traps hidden in the river. Oh, by the way, Fletch Lives‘s Hal Holbrook plays the hero.
So, why did I have a hard time following this flick? Well, first off, the transfer is pretty awful. It’s not so bad when it’s daylight and you can see what’s going on, but there are plenty of scenes in the dark, like the finale that are indecipherable thanks to the smudgy darkness. As it is, I have zero idea why the creeper was actually killing them though I assume it has something to do with Holbrook and company being doctors. Possibly in the war? I dunno. The other aspect of the movie that wasn’t very absorbing were the characters. Holbrook’s rad and one of the other buddies, Martin, is kind of fun in a philosophical drunk sort of way, but his main counterpart, Mitzi, is so annoying you wish he would have gotten it in the beginning.
All that said, the movie is worth checking out, especially if you can get a better transfer, which apparently there is or at least one planned according to IMDb. Even though there are plenty of stuck in the woods movies, I like this one because it stars older people and not a bunch of kids. This not only offers a different perspective from the various parties involved but also gives them more skills with which to survive, for all the good it does them. For instance, Martin starts talking about how all of the accidents are really well placed traps put in place specifically to screw with them. It’s also a good alternative to something like Deliverance because, well, there’s no rape.
The following pics show how bad the transfer is at times, especially at night. There’s also a pic of the bear trap, a crazy old man who I think is the brother of the creeper and the poster again which looks pretty cool.
Score: Pretty good pacing and action with a mix of good and bad characters, I’d give it another watch.