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Review: BLACK CREEK (2017)

Having recently and quite positively reviewed writer/director James Crow’s HOUSE OF SALEM I was enthused to watch his current film BLACK CREEK. That enthusiasm took a bit of a tumble when I found it was a vehicle for Chris O’Flyng, a YouTube video star looking to break into film. Visions of a typical YouTube video with scary parts added in filled my head. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, BLACK CREEK is at least free from stupid pranks and idiotic stunts.

Mike (Chris O’Flyng) and Heather (Brianna Shae) have recently lost their father. Mike’s girlfriend Jenna (Leah Patrick) and a few other friends head out to his cabin to spread his ashes. However, an ancient evil has been awakened in Black Creek, and one by one its victims are being possessed. And it has its sights set on their cabin next.

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A cabin in the woods, people possessed by an evil spirit and killing their friends. BLACK CREEK bears more than a few similarities to THE EVIL DEAD but adds its own macabre touches. The bodies found with stakes through the eyes are a macabre touch. Unfortunately, there’s too little of this kind of thing, much of the film is very tame. Given the casting of O’Flyng in the lead, this makes sense, the audience he’ll attract would probably be traumatized by a full-on horror film. This is horror lite for the same people who find 3 AM phone challenge videos creepy.

O’Flyng has over a million subscribers to his YouTube channel, so I can see the attraction to making a film aimed at them. If even half of them hit this up on VOD/iTunes, it’s going to turn a nice profit. And profit is what lets you make more movies. Sadly, most everyone else will find BLACK CREEK bland and overly familiar. The script has potential and pushed to the level of even a normal teen horror it would have been so much better.

I suppose for what it is, BLACK CREEK is good. The cinematography and effects are both excellent, and the script is never actively dull. It’s just never overly exciting, either. As for the acting, let’s just say O’Flyng should go back to YouTube and take most of his costars with him.

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Crow has two films awaiting release, A SUBURBAN FAIRYTALE, and NIGHTMARE ON 34th STREET. Hopefully, they’re a return to the more satisfying horror films we know he’s capable of.

BLACK CREEK arrives on VOD February 16th from Freestyle Digital Media.

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