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Hide And Creep (2004)

DVD Cover (The Asylum Home Entertainment)
Directors:
Chuck Hartsell Chuck Hartsell
Chance Shirley Chance Shirley
Starring:
Chuck Hartsell Chuck Hartsell
Michael Shelton Michael Shelton
Kyle Holman Kyle Holman
Chris Garrison Chris Garrison
Eric McGinty Eric McGinty

4.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Horror Comedy, Zombie Film
Residents of a small Southern town contend with bloodthirsty zombies, a mysterious flying saucer, and bad television reception. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 28, 2005
Sloss Furnace was the location for the opening night of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. Surrounded by other members of the media, filmmakers galore, and actors parading around dressed as zombies, this was the perfect setting for what was billed as a horror film -- one of the best to ever come out of Alabama, actually. The truth is that most Alabama grown horror films are as low budget as they come -- bad make-up, bad script, and bad acting. So, I was quite shocked when such attention was being given to this indie flick which had a budget of around $20,000.00. Most Hollywood films spend that much on a week's worth of catering alone.

However, "Hide & Creep" falls into the same category as every other Alabama grown horror film. Sure, there were some rather humorous and campy parts of the film, as when a video store owner smacks a zombie upside the head with a VCR, only to have the VCR hit the ground and "Night of the Living Dead" eject. There was also a scene in the local supermarket that was rather enjoyable, where the locals are trying to decide if a man is a zombie or not. One of the locals says, "They say zombies don't talk...and you sure ain't sayin' much, mister". It's that kind of redneck humor that is suppose to poke fun at Alabama, but does so in a less than flattering light. Take for instance the guy who would rather be killed that miss the Alabama Vs. Auburn football game. I am not one to drip with Alabama pride, but the filmmakers seemed to show zero regard for Alabama in this film.

There is one scene in the film that used state of the art special effects, and you just know half of the budget went on that one shot alone. The filmmakers should have took that money and hired a better make-up artist, because a large majority of the make-up was laughable. Another B-movie tradition, the poorly crafted blood and guts, made for a less than enthusiastic experience -- we understand that a horror director tries to make the audience sick -- what doesn't work is when they do so to the point of exhaustion, which is what "Hide & Creep" accomplished. Parts of the film, as with the scene in the strip bar, did not belong in the film, and seemed to be placed there with the sole intention of trying to offend someone. They did not offend me...merely the craft of film-making.

Now, I have to give some credit to these guys for having imagination. Some of the little quirks in the film were clever and not unwatchable. Kyle Holman was rather convincing as Keith, the gun nut with the commando kids. I thought he was the best, acting wise, in the entire film, and evidently so did others because he was the Local Achievement In Acting Award at the beginning of the festival. The rest of the acting was B-movie grade, and nothing more. Most of the accents were pure Southern, but sounded as if the naturally Southern people were trying extra hard to sound even more Southern. Doing so made their accents sound fake, when I know they were not.

All in all, this was not the best film with which to open the festival. At the Q & A at the end of the film, a woman asked what the filmmakers thought of the great Russ Meyer passing away recently and the filmmakers commented on Meyer and fellow indie legend Misseure Cassavettes. What makes me weary is that these guys have probably never seen anything Meyer did other than his Roger Ebert stock. They also cannot appreciate the kind of legend he left behind. To try and craft a horror film without appreciating Russ Meyer is like trying to ride a bicycle without wheels -- it does not work. This would have made for a good 9:00 PM film on Saturday...it would have been good at keeping the audience wired for the Sunday line-up. Instead, they built this film up and made it sound incredible, and it turned out to be a semi-dud. I didn't waste my money on this one because my press pass got me in for free, but I would have been highly disappointed had I paid a normal $8.00 for the film. Give the guys credit for attempting to further their careers -- they just need to find a different genre. 3/10.
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Review by Chad
Added: March 30, 2006
In this zombie-comedy that has frequently been compared to Shaun Of The Dead, we witness a zombie outbreak in the small Alabama town of Thornsby as seen through the eyes of the characters from three subplots. The first (and least important in the grand scheme of things) revolves around the town minister Rev. Smith (Barry Austin) and his reactions to a church that suddenly starts to fill up after a long period of non-attendance from the folks in the town. The second deals with the redneck owner of a local gun club by the name of Keith (Kyle Holman) and features him and his fellow gun-nut buddies trying to survive the zombie onslaught. The third and final subplot revolves around a rag-tag group of survivors consisting of video-store clerk Chuck (co-director Chuck Hartsell), police secretary Barbara (Melissa Bush), her ex-boyfriend Chris (Chris Hartsell), and a fellow who introduces himself as Michael (Michael Shelton) before going on to claim that aliens abducted him, gave him an anal probe, and took his pants (indeed, he spends the grand majority of the movie nude). There's really not much more to be said about the plot; the Reverend questions his beliefs for a while, and the other two groups kill some zombies, run around town a bit, and try to avoid being eaten.

As mentioned, this film has drew a lot of comparisons to Shaun Of The Dead, a claim that I find to be a bit unfair. Whereas Shaun was a hybrid horror-comedy, Hide And Creep is a straight-up comedy. Sure, there's zombies to be found, and indeed, there is some bloodshed, but it's all done in a tongue-in-cheek style of humor. If you're looking for some horror from your zombie films, this would be one to skip right on over at the video store. However, the movie excels in the comedy department, delivering more than a couple of scenes that drew a nice laugh from yours truly. Also, be on the look-out for the rampant nods to other films; the opening monologue in the video store contains a bunch of them, but there's a slew of less-obvious ones to be found as the movie rolls along. Fans of horror (especially the original Romero trilogy) will have a field-day pointing these out.

Now then, the only real downside to the film (for some) is the budget. My co-reviewer claims that this movie was shot on a budget of $20,000, a claim that I can neither confirm nor deny (I didn't investigate). Regardless, it was shot on a very low budget, and as such, the effects are far from top-notch. Save for one scene (the one he referenced, I assume), the zombie kills are handled by shooting the cast member with a stream of "blood", leaving either a line or a circle of red liquid on his or her shirt. Indeed, this is not a film to pick up if you're looking for top-notch special effects, as they're pretty bad even for direct-to-video fare. Regardless, the movie is still entertaining thanks to the aforementioned comedy; the movie was obviously designed to draw some laughs from the crowd by placing the characters in a zombie apocalypse setting, and with that goal in mind, the directors have succeeded.

Personally, the special effects and the low budget didn't bother me. $20,000 for the making of this film? Please... I've seen films that have been shot on a budget of only $900, and still, I was able to enjoy most of them. I look for a good storyline in order to judge a movie, and if it happens to feature some fancy CGI work or some realistic death scenes, then hey... that's just icing on the cake. I know that not everyone out there in viewer-land shares my outlook on film though, so I felt the need to point out that small budget issue.

However, if something doesn't work in a film, I won't hesitate to point it out regardless of whether the budget was $20 or $20,000,000; I'm certainly not one of those people who will defend all indie cinema to the death regardless of how shitty it actually is. With the praise that I have delivered for this film thus far, I'm a bit disappointed to say that it's not a perfect film. Some of the scenes (especially towards the end) were too slow-paced for my liking, leaving me anxiously awaiting something, anything, to happen to revive my interest. These scenes mainly revolved around the stars attempting to figure out what to do and where to go in the midst of this carnage, but in a zombie film (especially one that is a pure comedy), we don't need a deep storyline... just some zombie action and / or some good laughs.

The film also features a number of ideas and subplots that are either touched upon before quickly dropping from the main story altogether, or play out a bit before dropping with no resolution or explanation. For example, there's the whole aliens thing; one of the stars keeps mentioning it, and we then witness some sort of alien activity towards the end of the film, but nothing is ever explained or dwelled upon. I know this complaint sort of contradicts my previous statement of not needing a storyline, but there's a difference between "Where should we go, what should we do, what's going on?" and watching a woman fall from the sky, get up, and carry on with no sort of explanation. I can't fault the directors for not filming these scenes, whether it was due to budget concerns, running-time issues, or them simply deciding that the scenes didn't work in the grand scheme of things; however, I can fault them for leaving in all sorts of references to something that never delivers a payoff. Speaking of "payoff", the film ends very abruptly, and I felt that there should have been a little something more there. As it is, I was left with a "That's it?" feeling while the credits were rolling, which isn't a good thing.

Yes, the film has some problems, but it still manages to entertain. There's a few scenes that literally made me laugh out loud, and the Kevin Smith-inspired monologue about the evils of Pepsi definitely pulled a chuckle, although you really have to have spent some time in the south to fully appreciate that one. It's a pretty good film, and with some more experience, I can definitely see these fellows putting out some amazing material; however, as it stands, this movie is just that: pretty good, but nothing more. 6/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 03/31/2006, 12:11 AM
Yeah, $20,000 was indeed the budget. I actually know 50% of the cast of this film -- most have even acted in some of my short films. I usually get into cheesy effects and things of that nature, but they were just too much for me here.
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