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C.H.U.D. (1984)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Director:
Douglas Cheek Douglas Cheek
Starring:
John Heard John Heard
Daniel Stern Daniel Stern
Christopher Curry Christopher Curry
Kim Greist Kim Greist
Laure Mattos Laure Mattos

5.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Creature Film, Drama, Horror, Natural Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: March 22, 2005
As we open the movie, we witness a young lady walking her dog down the street. She walks past a manhole, at which point a monstrous arm reaches out and pulls her and her dog down into the sewers. We then cut on over to Bosch (Christopher Curry), the captain of the police department... seems there's been a number of missing persons reports being filed lately, with his own wife being one of them. After doing a bit of digging through the recent crime reports, he notices a claim that twelve homeless people that were living in the sewers have vanished without a trace... this leads Bosch to the man that filed the report, a homeless guy who runs a soup-kitchen and is known only as The Reverend (Daniel Stern). The two form quite the unusual alliance and head out to find out what's going on, and their investigation leads them to the sewers, where they find unusually high levels of radioactive material. Bosh and Reverend take their findings to the police commissioner and Wilson (George Martin), the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Both men deny any knowledge of what's going on, until Reverend whips out some photographs and threatens to take them to the media. This opens up Wilson's mouth, who mentions something about recent regulations barring the transport of radioactive materials. Since they can't move the materials, they're having to store them underground in the sewers... a move that has resulted in the outpouring of C.H.U.D.'s, or Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. On the other side of the storyline, we find George Cooper (John Heard), a photographer who has just found out that his model wife Lauren (Kim Greist) is pregnant. Their celebration over the news is short lived, however, when investigative reporter Murphy (J.C. Quinn) approaches Cooper and starts talking about what's going on in the sewers. Cooper gets involved, Bosch tries to get the word out to the public about the creatures living under the city, and Wilson tries to keep everyone from doing anything that would alert the public... oh, what a tangled web those government officials weave.

Here we have a film that tried to mix too many things together into one film with lackluster results. We have the obvious horror aspect of the movie, but there's also a fair deal of drama and social commentary about the problems with the homeless population and their living conditions. With the exception of a few blink-or-you'll-miss-it scenes involving the monsters, there's nothing but said social commentary for the first fifty minutes of the movie, which results in a fair deal of boredom for those such as myself who were expecting a straight-out monster film. This move on the part of director Douglas Cheek didn't lead to as awful of a movie as one might expect, but it certainly wasn't as good as it could have been either. They also held off on showing the monsters until the last forty minutes of the movie; sure, you see an arm or a claw here and there, but it isn't until late in the film that you actually see an entire monster. This succeeded in building up the suspense, but in conjunction with the aforementioned preaching of social issues, it also succeeded in building up the boredom factor. When we finally do see a C.H.U.D. in all its glory, the effects are rather nice considering the period in which the movie was made. The effects job for the monsters certainly wasn't anything great by today's standards, and they weren't even groundbreaking for the time, but they do look good nonetheless.

While the first chunk of the movie deals with all of those blasted social issues and brings forth a yawn or two from your faithful reviewer, the acting abilities from those involved save it from being a complete waste of time. Everyone involved here does a splendid job with their roles, with the highlight being Daniel Stern as The Reverend (who went on to star as one of the villains in "Home Alone"). Stern plays the role of a bum nicely, mixing both anger and humor into a character that manages to steal nearly every scene that he's involved in. Christopher Curry (Bosch) would be the low point of the film due to the fact that he plays the extremely overused character of the hero police officer. To be fair, this was more a problem with the script than with Curry's performance, as he did a decent enough job with the role, but he also didn't bring anything new to the character and the result was the same type of character that we've seen in countless other films.

Overall, it's a decent enough movie, but don't go out of your way to pick up a copy. The last thirty minutes or so is a great mid-eighties monster flick, but the hour of social commentary that one has to sit through to get to that certainly puts a damper on the film as a whole. 4/10.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 03/23/2005, 08:40 PM
you at all interested in trying out the sequel?
Chad #2: Chad - added 03/23/2005, 10:46 PM
I wanted to do a review on both films back to back, but the sequel hasn't hit DVD yet. Kinda sucks, actually.
Edd #3: Edd - added 01/17/2006, 01:31 PM
This movie takes a shitty concept, and makes it worse with the terrible acting.
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 07/24/2007, 07:15 PM
A movie with a shitty concept should have horrible acting. This movie is great. I love the dreadful acting, the terrible quality. Nothing about this movie makes you want to watch it. Pure gold. Glad somebody was smart enough to make a movie this terrible. 8.1/10
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 06/04/2008, 12:55 AM
4/10? The hell is wrong with you people. This movie was cheesy and awful, and I loved every minute of it. Although, I'm surprised everyone says it has horrible acting - I honestly didn't find it to be that bad. I was thoroughly entertained by this flick, and you can't really ask much else of a monster movie. 7/10
Nirrad #6: Nirrad - added 06/04/2008, 03:45 PM
This movie rocks my mouth.
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