Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: T.J. Glenn, Jennifer Lauren Grant, Courtney Henggeler, Jeffrey Howard, J. Christian Ingvordsen
Director: J. Christian Ingvordsen
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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"I'm a scientist...it's my job to know!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/02/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Oh, my aching brain...with some of the things I subject it to, it's a wonder it hasn't called it quits by now. Most recently I'm referring to this movie titled The Bog Creatures (2003), which someone actually stated that it was the `scariest movie I've seen since Ridley Scott's "Alien"'...um, what the heck were you smoking, and where can I get some? Seriously, I think this is a movie that requires some sort of mind altering substances to allow one to sit through it in its entirety and claim it was actually good...directed by J. Christian Ingvordsen (Mob War, Cyber Vengeance), this Danish production stars a whole bunch of actors I've never heard of, who have appeared in a whole lot of movies (direct to video efforts) I've never seen...
The film takes place in Denmark, and on the outset we learn the year is 802 AD, location Valborg Castle...to which we see a bunch of dudes running around, waving shiny weapons, accosting half nekkid babes (brief boobage included)...we later learn these dudes are supposed to be some sort of dark, berserker clan/cult, led by a witchy woman (oooh, oooh, witchy woman), and they are in the process of sacrificing themselves some virgins. Anyway, fast forward 1200 years later and we see a group of American college students types (3 guys, 2 girls) who have supposedly been selected from hundreds of possible candidates, indicating these chosen few were the `cream' of the crop, but nothing else indicates that other than that's what it says in the script (if these are the best choices, the rest must have been real doozies). Okay, so a professor sends them off to a peat bog in an effort to dig up some well-preserved corpses (we come to find out the deceased residents of the bog are mostly comprised of members of the berserker clan we saw earlier). Arriving near their destination, they're greeted by a heavy set drunken guide in leather pants with what sounds a lot like a Scottish accent (actually, he reminds me of Willie from The Simpsons, only not as funny)...who spews forth an obligatory warning "Yer all a ginna die!" So the groups sets up residence near the castle we saw in the opening of the film, and they begin their excavation, which entails them digging about an inch and a half into the ground before finding some specimens. But wait...who are those mysterious individuals lurking about? The ones wearing coats made of moss? And now the groups guide has disappeared? And who's that buxom, frightened babe found wandering the woods? Perhaps a member of an earlier party? I actually stopped caring about ten minutes in, and let myself be drawn along like a broken twig on the currents of a mighty river...a mighty stupid river...
For me trepidation set in pretty early in The Bog Creatures as the berserkers hardly looked as menacing as I think they were intended to be...actually, they looked more like a bunch of dudes from a local tavern, dressed up in some cheap costumes, and instructed act all bloodthirsty and such...one issue I have when films try to depicted ancient time periods is often the individuals cast look too well-groomed, too `fresh' to be of the era. I'd hardly expect berserker/Viking types of a period some 1200 years ago to have finely coifed perms and mullets, much less shiny, white teeth...and that castle, the one that's been deserted for hundreds of years, looks pretty well preserved, even to the point where it appears recent maintenance had taken place (the brick and mortar in the large fireplace look suspiciously new)...well, turns out these were relatively minor aspects of much worse things to come...the two, most painful aspects of this film is the acting and the dialog, followed closely by the direction and the story...I could also throw the smarmy, smart alecky characters on the heap while I am at it, but they were virtually non-existent in the sense they had no `feel' to them, no substance. In terms of the acting, one of the things that stood out the most was the nearly complete lack of shock/horror/surprise from the students when the bog creatures became all animated and such, and begin attacking the small group...I dunno, I see the recently revived dead and I'm gonna have a brownout in my shorts. The dialog is really awful and seems to indicate whoever wrote it must be an alien unfamiliar with how us humans really speak to each other (hint, it's not usually in terms of odd, disconnected statements interspersed with painful bouts of exposition). As far as the directing Ingvordsen seems to know how to set up a shot, but not a lot else...there was absolutely no tension, horror, scares, or anything in that vein to be found in the film...I wasn't expecting a lot, but to be so completely devoid of these elements almost required a thoughtful omission...and the film drags on and on...the run time of the film is a thankfully short hour and nearly twenty minutes, but the pacing will give the impression of it being much longer (things don't actually get moving until about 45 minutes in). Given that this was the director's 18th film (or something along those lines), I would have thought he would have gotten better by now, that is unless his initial ventures were that much worse than this one, which is pretty hard to believe. The special effects aren't too bad, and someone else mentioned they thought most of the money was probably spent on creating the bog creatures, to which I'd agree. It's obvious they didn't have the funds to do a through job on all of the creatures, so only a handful tend to get the up close and personal screen time. As far as the portrayal of the bog creatures, sometimes they were highly animated, and sometimes they lumbered around like the recently revived dead, creaky, rotting joints and all...pick a path and stick to it...personally I would have chosen the whole lumbering motif, but certainly not a mixture. You may be asking me about now if there wasn't anything I liked about the film...I thought the females were attractive, and it would have helped if there were more scenes where they were nekkid...there was one scene when one is giving another a sort of sponge bath, but it's just a wasted opportunity as there's no boobage, only cleavage.
The fullscreen picture on this DVD looks pretty decent (it does have that sort of video feel vs. that of film), and the audio comes through fairly well most of the time. In terms of special features, there is a `making of' featurette, along with a trailer for the film along with ones for three other films in Legend of the Phantom Rider (2002), Stricken (1998), and Sanitarium (2001).
A pleasant surprise.
John Weiss | Phoenix, Az | 03/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Bog Creatures" is obviously a low budget effort, yet, despite these limitations, the filmmakers have managed to craft a charming and often frightening little movie that isn't afraid to be cheerfully cheesy at times. Plusses are a lot of character-driven humor (actual characters being a rarity in the genre), a well-crafted atmosphere of escalating fear, some genuine scare moments, one of the most shocking twists in recent memory and a surprisingly poignant ending. Production values are decent overall, with the usual trouble you'd expect from a low budget picture. There are problems - acting is uneven, with some standout performances and some less so, and there's some clunky editing in the first third that smacks of last minute "fixes." The film takes a while to get going, but once it does, it's a great ride. The movie actually takes you on a journey, modest as it is, and the filmmakers should be credited for trying to make a picture in the "classic" vein, that is relying on character and story, as opposed to just presenting a string of gory murders. A pleasant surprise that should work for both the horror buff and general viewer alike."
Old-fashioned Horror Fun!
W. J. Cohen | New York, NY USA | 03/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I went into this flick expecting run-of-the-mill low budget fare and came out exceedingly surprised! This is not your standard horror movie of today. The movie harkens back to an earlier form... it really is a traditional monster movie with all the delight that entails. The "Bog Creatures" in question are Medieval Danish Vikings who have been preserved as mummies in a peat-bog. When some American Archeology students begin to dig up the bog they awaken an ancient conflict... Now, doesn't that sound like a delicious plotline?! The characters are great. The students are a band of misfits and they are lead by a wacko professor who shares a rather - shall we say "odd"? - relationship with his prodigy sister. This is truly an engaging film, steeped in horror tradition yet packing plenty of surprises and "treats" for the viewer."
Glorified Home Movie
Ratspit | California, United States | 06/23/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Bog Creatures shows exactly what can happen when very enthusiastic people get together with a little cash, some knowledge of movie making, a mixed bag of aspiring actors, and a lot of determination, yet all without the necessary knowledge and skills to pull off anything more than a fairly poor looking After School Special (in a bad way, not a nostalgic good way). I mean this is so-so quality home movie / student film stuff if you want to pass it around to family and friends for free. Thankfully, I found it in a discount bin somewhere. Sure, there may be some sort of market out there for this kind of thing, but it is a market that seems to only exist by default because there are so many poor B movies out there. Even more so now in this day and age.The only people I would recommend this move to is aspiring guerrilla filmmakers. First, I would recommend that they watch the special feature MAKING OF thing included on the disc. See the film crews enthusiasm, their hard work, joy, and very high opinions of their own product. THEN watch the movie. Within a few frames you will hopefully understand what went wrong. Bored, I went through the whole thing and clearly the director and cinematographer tried, but just don't know enough about what they are doing. They knew enough to have fun, but in the long run, without necessary skills, this interprets to: They knew enough to be dangerous. This is like a bad Nickelodeon movie (as apposed to a more decent one I guess). A couple of the actors did ok, and the cool stoner looking dude with the tattoo (real or fake tattoo I know not) was probably the best and most natural and I hope he makes it. But their natural acting talent was what was coming through despite the bad movie, bad script, and so-so directing principles. If the director had spent more time helping these aspiring actors to develop their characters, studying successfully proven camera techniques and lighting principles to direct his crew better, and if the script had been actually worked on instead of written in a week or so (according to the very indulgent documentary) then maybe this could have been more of a film. Instead, it's a film that has a feeling of some potential, and has a few moments in it (due more to the genre than the film itself), but ends up showing nearly every frame, WHAT NOT TO DO. If you want to see what a decent low budget horror movie can really look like, watch Phantasm or even Laserblast. If you want a glorified home movie (no joke), get Bog Creatures."