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Monday, December 10, 2012

CREEP VAN -- DVD review by porfle

First of all, it's called CREEP VAN (2012).  Not "Gone With the Wind" or "Lawrence of Arabia", but "Creep Van."  Not only that, but it's a cheapo DTV comedy slasher flick called "Creep Van."  So it's not like you're going to watch it and think, "Oh my gosh, 'Creep Van' isn't as good as I expected."  On the positive side, though, it may not be quite as bad as you'd expect, either.  But that's not saying much.

Watching it, I get the feeling that director Scott W. Mckinlay and company are filmmakers who are so excited by the idea of making movies that waiting for a decent script to shoot is just a bothersome formality.  Thus, the dishwater-thin story here is about a guy named Campbell (Brian Kolodziej) who can't find a good job because he doesn't have a car. 

He sees a beat-up van for sale, little knowing that it belongs to a serial-killing "creep" who is about to become fixated on Campbell for some reason, making his life a waking nightmare.  That's about it, storywise.  Oh yeah, and Campbell inadvertently saves the life of a New Age drug dealer named Swami Ted (Collin Bernsen) who then pledges to come to his rescue if he's ever in trouble, which alert viewers will recognize as "foreshadowing."

It's enough to hang some fairly well-executed (yes, pun intended) kill scenes on, which, in this case, is the important thing.  A group called Almost Human (of LAID TO REST and CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 fame) has come up with some gore effects that look quite good for a film this low-budget, with hapless victims getting cut in half by power windows, skewered by spiked airbags and seats, and mangled by contracting seat belts, among other horrific manner of death.  Not only that, but the Creep also enjoys running people down and smashing them against walls the old-fashioned way. 

While none of this may sound like "fun", so to speak, these scenes are played mainly for laughs and more lighthearted than shocking in tone.  In fact, CREEP VAN is decidedly tongue-in-cheek for most of its running time, with nary a moment that might be described as "scary." 

A funny montage of Campbell's earlier attempts at holding a job is followed by goofy hijinks at the car wash where he finds work alongside two worthless slackers and a ditzy boss.  His clumsy courtship of coworker Amy (Amy Wehrell) is complicated by roommate Bob (Justin Kolodziej) and his gorgeous girlfriend Danni (Veronica Adkinson) having wild sex all over the place including the dog house in the backyard.  The gory death scenes almost always involve some kind of humorous set-up that lessens the impact of the graphic visuals. 

While all of this is smoothly directed and competently shot, with performances ranging from adequate to amiably inept and a few amusing moments here and there, CREEP VAN suffers from a lethargic pace and is often downright boring. 

Interesting touches come and go--a cameo appearance by Troma's Lloyd Kaufman, a topless Veronica Adkinson looking really hot, and a truly impressive stunt involving the van crashing into a house and taking out a lovemaking couple on a couch--but the story fails to involve us or generate any real suspense until the final moments, when things take an abruptly serious turn.  Amy's kidnapping by the Creep and Campbell's attempt to rescue her with Swami Ted's help does manage some action and a nasty surprise, but it's still nothing memorable. (Although Almost Human's final gore effect is, I must say, a showstopper.)

The DVD from Inception Media Group is in 16x9 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound.  No subtitles, but closed-captions are available.  Extras consist of a jovial filmmaker commentary, theatrical and original finance trailers, brief actor interviews, a deleted scene, and two featurettes--"Creep Van: Under the Hood" and "Anatomy of a Killer Van Smash."

This movie knows that it's a cheapo slasher flick called CREEP VAN and does just enough to live up to the title.  After that, it's up to potential viewers to encounter it in a rental store or on Netflix, think to themselves "Hmm...'Creep Van', eh?" and then decide if that sounds like a diversion worth sacrificing an hour and a half of their lives on.

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